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Companions for a Quirt $our. 






Companions for a wet $our. 



Editor flf " The Leisure Hcnr." 




"Luther s mind was literally world-wide; his 
eyes were for ever observant of what was round him. 
. \. . Being one of the most copious of talkers, he 
enabled his friends to preserve the most extra 
ordinary mon-um&nt of his acquirements and cf his 
intellectual vigour. On reading the Table Talk 
cf Luther; one ceases to wonder how this single 
man could change the face of Europe." 



THE history of the book known to us as 
" Luther s Table Talk " is briefly this : 

Anthony Lauterbach, a friend and formerly 
a pupil of Luther at Wittenberg, was in the 
habit of noting down the doctor s familiar dis 
courses with Philip Melanchthon, Justus Jonas, 
John Bugenhagen, and others. In the pictorial 
life of the Reformer by Gustav Konig, one of 
the pictures presents Luther in his garden with 
his family and several guests, while Lauterbach 
is busily taking notes even of the informal talk 
of this time of recreation. This accords with 



the tradition as to the real historical origin cf 
this biographical record. 

In 1569, Doctor John Aurifaber having ob 
tained these manuscript notes of Anthony 
Lauterbach, added many other discourses, and, 
arranging the whole under certain Loci Com 
munes, or Common Places, published them at 
Eisleben. In his preface, after making refer 
ence to the manuscript notes, he says : " And 
whereas I, Johannes Aurifaber, in the years 
1545 and 1546, before the death of that most 
famous divine, Luther, was much with and 
about him, and with all diligence writ and noted 
down many most excellent histories and acts, 
and other most necessary and useful things 
which he related : I have, therefore, set in order 
and brought the same also into this tome." 

The book had wide circulation, and was 

deemed to have so great influence in supporting 

the cause of the Reformation, that the Pope, 

Gregory XIII., induced the Emperor Rudolf II. 



to issue an edict that all copies should be burned, 
and that it should -be death for any person to 
possess a copy. 

In consequence of this edict being carried out 
with great rigour, the work became excessively 
scarce. But in the year 1626, Captain Henry 
Bell, when on a mission on some State business 
for King James I., obtained from a German 
gentleman a copy which was said to have been 
wonderfully preserved, and accidentally dis 
covered in making some alteration in his house. 
The edict still being in force, the possessor was 
glad to allow this copy to go to England, where 
Captain Bell translated it. 

The book had a singular history before it saw 
the light. Archbishop Laud heard of it, and 
desired to see both the original and the transla 
tion. After retaining them for two years, he 
sent the books with a message through his 
chaplain, and fifty livres in gold, promising to 
obtain an order from King Charles for the 


printing of the work. When the Archbishop 
fell into his troubles nothing more was heard 
of this order; but the House of Commons, 
having notice of the translation, sent for Captain 
Bell to appear before a Committee, sitting 
in the Treasury Chamber. Sir Edward 
Deering, being chairman, said he knew a 
learned German, then beneficed in Essex, Mr. 
Paul Amiraut, to whom he would like the work 
to be referred. The report being favourable, 
the Committee then referred the translation to 
two members of the Assembly of Divines then 
sitting at Westminster Edward Corbet, of 
Merton College, Oxford, and Charles Herle 
(who was President or Prolocutor after Dr. 
Twisse). These divines made report that they 
found it an excellent work, whereupon the 
House of Commons, on the 24th February, 
1646, gave order that it should be printed. 

A second edition appeared in 1791, with a 
preface by John R viand, of Northampton, and 

a life of Luther by Dr. John Gottlieb Burck- 
hardt, Minister of the German Lutheran Church 
at the Savoy, London. It was published by 
subscription, in forty-five numbers, at 6d. each, 
appearing weekly, the whole forming a large 
folio of 502 pages, with xxiv. pages of prefatory 
matter. A reprint forms one of Bohn s series 
of volumes. 

Cur selection of extracts is made from the 
second edition. The title-page infoims us that 
in addition to the original notes there are " all 
sorts of comforts, advices, prophecies, admoni 
tions, directions, and instructions." Dr. Auri- 
faber knew that there was a great demand for 
everything connected with Luther, and he in 
cluded in his book much that is of slight value, 
and much that ought never to have been put on 
iccord. Some of the subjects also have lost 
their interest for modern readers, such as those 
which relate to the petty potentates and the 
wars of the time, the temporal power of the 



papacy, and "the Turks," who then formed a 
real menace to Christendom. There is also 
much repetition even on questions of more 
permanent interest, so that a brief selection 
from the large volume seems sufficient to pre 
sent the real opinions and words of Luther 
concerning points most important to the Chris 
tian Church. And the reader will agree with 
Dr. Aurifaber, who says, "These most profitable 
discourses of Luther, containing such high 
spiritual things, we should in no wise suffer to 
be lost, but worthily esteem thereof, whereout 
all manner of learning, joy, and comfort may 
be had and received." 




The Bible above all Books 17 

How to Study and Know the Bible ... 18 

The Certainty of God s Word 19 

Boldness from God s Word 21 

God known in Christ 22 

Joy and Fear 24. 

Divine and Human Science 24 

Want of Trust in God s good Will ... 25 

To be left of God is the greatest Judgment 26 

The Hope of a Better Life 26 

God s Punishment on Nations 27 

Sacrifices Pleasing to God 29 

Three Sorts of People 30 

Love to Christ sustaining in Service ... 31 

1 1 

Hist of Subjects. 

PAG a 

The Show and Form of the World and the 

Church 32 

On Helping the Poor 33 

Of Jeroboam s Calves 34 

Of Idolatry . . 35 

Whereby the Godhead of Christ is known . 36 

That Christ is God and Man 37 

Christ the Mediator 38 

The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ 39 

The Knowledge of Christ 4.1 

Mistrust of Christ 42 

The Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of 

Life 43 

Forgiveness of Sins 45 

That Man s Thoughts are wholly Evil . . 45 
Concerning Free - Will (in regard to 

Spiritual Good) before Conversion . . 47 

Of Free-Will in Conversion 48 

Limits of Human Will 50 

Teaching the Young 51 


Hist of .Subjects. 


Earnest Preaching 51 

The Little Catechism 52 

The Law and the Gospel 53 

The Law Viewed as having Power to Save 55 

Of Antinomians 56 

Of the Fulfilling of the Law 58 

Childlike Faith .... .. 59 

Of God s Justice and Righteousness ... 61 

Abraham s Faith 62 

The Word of God the Basis of Faith . . 63 

Justification by Faith 64 

When Good Works are Pleasing to God . 65 

Prayer without Ceasing 66 

The Elector John of Saxony 66 

Providential Deliverance 67 

Elevation of the Sacrament 68 

The Cause of the Sacrament 70 

Is Rome the Mother Church? 71 

Qualities of a Good Preacher 71 

A World-pleasing Preacher 73 


ILtst of Subjects. 


Discrimination in Preaching 73 

The Pope s Three Crowns ....... 74 

The Pope is Antichrist 75 

Will-Worship and False Religion .... 75 

Of Purgatory 77 

The Bible and the Works of the Fathers . 77 

About a General Council 78 

Charles V. at Augsburg 79 

The Fathers concerning Faith 80 

Respect for the Fathers 8 1 

St. Augustine and St. Jerome 83 

John Huss 84 

Tempted of the Devil 85 

Conflict with the Devil 86 

Cheerfulness amidst Trouble 87 

Defence against Melancholy 89 

A True Believer must have Trouble ... 90 
Letter to a Father Mourning for a Son 

Lost 92 

Troubles about Predestination and Election 94 


ILtst of .Subjects. 

Monastic Life 95 

False Brethren ... - 96 

Life a Voyage 97 

Prayer as a Father . 98 

The Lord Ruleth 98 

Henry VIII 99 

The Augsburg Confession 99 

A Downcast Man 100 

Legends of Saints 101 

A Good General 102 

Paris University in the Sixteenth Century. 102 

Jews and Christians 103 

Music 106 

Singing to be taught in all Schools . . . 107 

Lawyers and Divines 107 

Pilate s Character and Conduct 108 

Wealth is the Least Gift of God 109 

The Sacrifice of the Mass no 

Faith and Work 1 1 r 

The Future Life m 

ILtst of Subjects. 


Good Princes 112 

The Best Preachers and Hearers .... 113 

Luther s Divinity School 114 

Unsearchableness of God s Works .... 115 

Useless Questionings 116 

The Wisdom of the World 118 

Men s Love of Novelty 119 

Christ the Only Physician for Death ... 119 
Man Unable to Distinguish between the 

Law and the Gospel 121 

How we are made Good before Christ . . 122 

Patience I2 2 

One of Luther s Sayings 123 

The Amaranthus a Symbol of the Church 123 

The True Preacher 125 

Christian Pilgrimages 125 



Thankfulness 128 


ftitljtr s fcable Calh. 

The Bible above all Books. The Holy 
Scripture, or the Bible, is full of divine gifts 
and virtues. The books of the heathen taught 
nothing of Faith, Hope, and Love ; nay, they 
knew nothing at all of the same ; their books 
aimed only at that which was present, at that 
which, with natural wit and understanding, a 
human creature was able to comprehend and 
take hold of; but to trust in God and hope in 
the Lord, nothing was written thereof in their 
books. In the Psalms and in Job we may see 
and find how those two books do treat and 
handle of Faith, of Hope, of Patience, and 

To be short, the Holy Scripture is the best 
and highest book of God, full of comfort in all 
manner of trials and temptations ; for it teacheth 
B 17 

Eutfjcr s Cable Calk. 

of Faith, Hope, and Love, far otherwise than 
by human reason and understanding can be 
comprehended. And, in times of troubles and 
vexations, it teacheth how these virtues should 
light and shine ; it teacheth also, that after this 
poor and miserable life, there is another which 
is eternal and everlasting. 

How to Study and Know the Bible.--The 
chief lesson and study in Divinity is, well and 
rightly to learn to know Christ, for He is therein 
very friendly and familiarly pictured unto us. 
From hence St. Peter saith : Grow i/p in the 
knowledge of Christ ; and Christ Himself also 
teacheth that we should learn to know Him only 
out of the Scriptures, where He saith : Search 
the Scriptures, for they do testify of vu\ 

We ought not to measure, censure, and under 
stand the Scriptures according to our own 
natural sense and reason, but we ought dili 
gently by prayer to meditate therein, and to 
search after the same. The devil and tempta 
tions also do give occasion unto us -somewhat 
to learn and understand the Scriptures by 
experience and practice. Without trials and 

ILutfjcr s Cable Calfc. 

temptations we should never understand any 
thing thereof ; no, not although we diligently 
read and heard the same. The Holy Ghost 
must be the only master and tutor to teach us 
therein, and let youth and scholars not be 
ashamed to learn of this tutor. When I find 
myself in temptation, then I quickly lay hold 
and fasten on some text in the Bible which 
Christ Jesus layeth before me ; namely, that He 
died for me, from whence I have and receive 

The Certainty of God s Word. Above all 

things let us be sure that the doctrine which 

we teach is God s Word ; for when we be sure 

of that, then we may build thereupon and know 

that this cause shall and must remain ; the 

devil shall not be able to overthrow it, much 

less shall the world be able to root it out, how 

fiercely soever they rage against the same. I, 

God be praised, do surely know that the 

doctrine which I teach is God s Word, and 

have now hunted from my heart all other 

doctrines and faiths, by what name soever, 

which I see do not concur with God s Word, 

and now I have overcome those heavy tempta- 

B 2 19 

flutter s Cable SMfc. 

tions which sometimes tormented me in this 
manner ; namely, Art thou (thought I) the only 
man that hath God s Word pure and clear, and 
all others fail therein? In such sort doth Satan 
vex and assault us under the name and title of 
God s Church ; yea (saith he) that doctrine 
which the Christian Church so many years 
hitherto hath held and established for right, 
wilt thou presume to reject and overthrow the 
same with thy new doctrine ? 

A man must be able bodily to affirm and say, 
I know for certain that the same which I teach 
is the only Word of the high Majesty of God in 
heaven, His final conclusion and everlasting 
unchangeable Truth, and whatsoever concur- 
reth and agreeth not with this doctrine, the 
same is altogether false, and spun by the devil. 
I have before me God s Word which cannot 
fail, nor can the gates of hell prevail against it ; 
thereby will I remain although the whole world 
were against me. And withal I have this com 
fort, that God saith : I will give thee people and 
hearers that shall receive it, cast thy care upon 
me ; I will defend thee, only remain thou stout 
and steadfast by my Word. 


ILtttfjrr s Cable Calfe. 

Boldness from God s Word. When the 
devil findeth me idle, and that I do not think of 
God s Word, then he scrupleth my conscience, 
as if I taught not right, but had occasioned a 
confusion in the government, and with my 
doctrine had raised much offence and rebellion. 
But when I get hold on God s word, then have 
I won the game, then I resist the devil, and say 
thus : I know, and out of God s W 7 ord am sure, 
that this doctrine is not mine, but the doctrine 
of the Son of God. Then I think thus with 
myself : What careth God for the whole world, 
though it were ten times as big again? He 
hath set His Son to be King, and hath set Him 
so fast in His kingdom, that He neither can nor 
will be removed ; for God Himself saith : This 
my Son shall ye hear. And in Psalm ii. he 
saith : Be ivise now therefore, O ye kings ; 
be instructed, ye judges of the earth; serve the 
Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye fierisli 
from the way, &c. Jf His wrath be kindled, &c. 
That is : Will ye combine yourselves against 
the Son ; so shall ye with all your kingdoms, 
principalities, governments, rights, orders, laws, 
powers, forts, treasure, and wealth, be utterly 


llutfjcr g Cable Calfc. 

consumed and brought to nothing, like as hath 
happened to the kingdom of the Jews and 

Let us in any case be sure and certain of our 
cause. St. Paul boasteth of himself, and saith 
thus : / am an apostle and servant of Jesus 
Christ, and a teacher of the Gentiles. No car 
nal-minded man is able to understand this kind 
of boasting, which at that time was as needful 
and necessary for St Paul as an article of 

God known in Christ. If thou wilt be sure 
and certain of thy conscience and salvation, 
then abstain from speculating and searching 
to know and to seek God the Lord, as well what 
His essence is, as also His will, according to 
thine own sense, reason, and carnal mind ; for 
without his Word, and His Son Christ, He will 
not be found. But thou must learn to take hold 
on God by such means as He is expressed by in 
Holy Scriptures, concerning which St. Paul 
saith : For after that, in the wisdom of God, 
the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased 
God by the foolishness of pt caching to save them 


Eutfjcr s Cable Calk. 

that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and 
the Greeks seek after wisdom ; but we preach 
Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, 
and to the Greeks foolishness ; but unto them 
that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ 
the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 

Therefore begin them to seek God there where 
Christ Himself began ; namely, where He was 
conceived in the womb of His mother, the Virgin 
Mary, where He lay in the manger of Bethlehem 
sucking on His mother s breasts. For He came 
down from heaven, was born a natural human 
creature, He walked with us mankind on earth, 
He preached, wrought miracles, suffered, was 
crucified, and died, rose again from the dead, 
only for this end, that He might place Himself in 
such manner before our corporeal eyes, thereby 
to draw the eyes of our hearts, that is, all our 
senses, cogitations, and meditations, unto Him ; 
and so to debar us from a presumptuous specu 
lating and searching out the Majesty of God in 
heaven. But through His Word He causeth to 
be offered unto us such things as are necessary 
for our knowledge to salvation. 

lltttfjer s Cable Calk. 

Joy and Fear. I would fain see one that 
could make these two agree together, to be joyful 
and to be afraid. I cannot behave myself in 
that manner towards God ; but my little son 
Hans can show himself so towards me ; for 
when I sit in my study and write, or do some 
thing else, then my boy sings me a song ; and 
when he will be too loud, then I check him a 
little ; yet nevertheless he singeth on, but with 
a more mild and softer voice, and somewhat 
with fear and reverence. Even so will God 
likewise have us to do, that we should always 
rejoice in Him, yet with fear and reverence 
towards God. 

Divine and Human Science. God only, 
through His Word, instructed! the heart, to the 
end it may come to the serious acknowledgment of 
itself, and to know how wicked it is, and spoiled ; 
yea, that it is at enmity with God, as St. Paul 
witnesseth. Afterwards God leadeth a man 
so far, that he cometh also to the knowledge of 
God, and how he may be freed from sin, and 
after this miserable vanishing Avorld, how he 
may obtain a life that is everlasting. On the 

Etttfjrr s Cable Calft. 

contrary, human sense and reason, with all her 
wisdom, is able to bring it no further than to 
instruct and direct people how to live a civil 
kind of life ; how to behave and carry them 
selves in this vanishing world ; also, how to 
govern, to keep house, to build, and how they 
may be instructed in other good arts : such 
things are taught and learned in philosophy, 
and out of heathenish books, and no more. 
But how they should learn to know God, and 
His dear Son Christ Jesus, and to be saved, the 
same teacheth the Holy Ghost only through 
God s Word ; for philosophy understandeth 
nothing in divine matters. 

Want of Trust in God s Good Will. Once 

towards evening, came flying into Luther s 
garden two birds, and made a nest therein, but 
they were oftentimes scared away by those that 
passed by : then, said Luther, O ye loving pretty 
birds ! fly not away ; I am heartily well con 
tented with you, if ye could but trust unto me. 
Even so it is with us, we neither can trust in 
God, who, notwithstanding, showeth and wisheth 
us all goodness. 


3Lutf) s Cable Calk. 

To be left of God is the greatest Judgment. 
No greater anger than when God is silent, 
and talketh not with us, but suffereth us to go 
on in our sinful works, and to do all things 
according to our own lusts and pleasures. 

Ah, God ! punish, we pray thee, with pesti 
lence, with famine, and with what evil sicknesses 
else may be on earth ; but be not silent, Lord, 
towards us. 

The Hope of a Better Life. If there were 
no hope of the resurrection of the dead, nor of 
another and better world, after this short and 
miserable life, wherefore then doth God offer 
Himself that He will be our God, that He will 
give us all that is necessary and healthful for 
us, and in the end will deliver us out of all 
trouble both temporal and spiritual ? To what 
purpose is it that we hear His Word and believe 
in Him? What are we the better when we cry 
and sigh to Him in our anguish and need, that 
we wait with patience upon His comfort and 
salvation, upon His grace and benefits which 
He shows in Christ ? Why do we praise and 
thank Him for the same ? Why are we daily in 

Etttfjrr s Cable Calk. 

danger, and suffer ourselves to be persecuted 
and slain for the sake of Christ s Word, which 
we teach and hold for our greatest treasure, and 
do acknowledge it before the wicked world ! 

But forasmuch as the everlasting merciful 
God, only through His Word and Sacraments, 
talketh and dealeth with us (all other creatures 
excluded), not of temporal things which pertain 
to this vanishing life, all which in the begin 
ning He hath provided richly for us, but where 
we shall remain when we depart from hence, 
and giveth unto us His Son for a Saviour, who 
delivereth us from sin and death, and hath pur 
chased for us everlasting righteousness, life, and 
salvation ; that we believe in Him, and at His 
commandment are baptized, &c. Therefore it is 
most certain that we do not die away like the 
beasts that have no understanding ; but so 
many of us that do sleep in Christ, shall through 
Him be raised again to life everlasting at the last 
day ; but the ungodly to everlasting shame and 

God s Punishment on Nations. When God 
is angry with us, and delivereth us into the 


Eutfjcr s Cable Calfc. 

hands of our enemies, that through them He 
punisheth our sins and vices ; and sendeth 
upon us pestilences, plagues, famine, &c. Yet, 
nevertheless, so long as He speaks with us 
through His Word, it is a certain sign of His 
grace and favour towards us ; for whom the 
Lord loveth He chasteneth. But (said Luther) 
when people are secure, they hear indeed the 
Word, but it goeth in at one ear, and out at the 
other ; they prate much thereof, but no amend 
ment of life, nor fruits of the faith do follow ; as 
we see, alas ! before our eyes, every one will be 
a true Christian and an upright Protestant, and 
yet wicked covetousness, usury, and other sins 
go on in full flourish and sway. And when God, 
through good and godly teachers and preachers, 
doth threaten us, and we will not turn and 
repent, &c., it is then a certain sign, that God 
will shortly take from us His Word and pure 
doctrine, and will leave us in the darkness of 
our hearts to walk in our own counsels, as 
Christ threatened the Jews, and took from them 
the Kingdom of God, and gave it to others that 
brought forth their fruits. In this sort it falls 
out, that kingdoms, countries, and people for 
the same cause are utterly wasted and destroyed 

Eutfjer s Cable STalfc. 

Therefore it amazeth me, and I do fear that 
Germany in a short time will be visited, and 
horribly punished, by reason of the great un- 
thankfulness in contemning and blaspheming 
of God s Word. God can have long patience 
when the people are wicked ; but when they 
contemn His Word, and persecute the same, 
then hath patience an end, and the last punish 
ment is at hand, as with the Jews, Greeks, 
Romans, and others. 

Sacrifices Pleasing to God. The Scriptures 
(said Luther) do show two manner of sacrifices 
that are acceptable to God, the first is called a 
sacrifice of Thanks or Praise. When we teach 
and preach God s Word purely ; when we hear 
and receive it with faith ; when we acknowledge 
the same, and do everything that tendeth to 
the spreading of it abroad, and thank God from 
our hearts for the unspeakable benefits which 
through the same are laid before us, and 
bestowed upon us in Christ ; when we praise 
and glorify Him, &c. Hereof the 5oth Psalm 
saith, Offer unto God thanksgiving. Also, He 
that offer eth thanks praiscth Me, And Psalm 


ILtttljer s Cable Calfc. 

cxviii. Thank the Lord, for He is gracious, 
because His mercy endureth for ever. And 
Psalm ciii. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and 
all that is within me praise His Holy Name. 
Praise the Lord, O my so it I, and forget not all 
His benefits. 

Secondly, when a sorrowful and troubled 
heart in all manner of temptations hath his 
refuge in God, calls upon Him in true and up 
right faith, seeks help by Him, and waits 
patiently upon Him, Psalm cxviii. In my trouble 
I called upon tJie Lord, and He heard me at 
large. Psalm xxxiv. Tlie Lord is nigh unto 
them that are of a contrite heart, and ivill save 
such as be of an liumble spirit. And Psalm li. 
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit ; a 
broken and contrite heart, O God, shall Thou not 
despise. And Psalm 1. Call upon Me in the time 
of need, so "will I deliver thce, and thnu shalt 
praise Me. With such sacrifices God is well 

Three Sorts of People. There are three 
degrees of people s natures. The first, are the 
great and common sort, that live securely with 
out remorse of conscience ; they acknowledge 

ILutfjrr s Cable Calfc. 

not their corrupted manners and natures ; they 
are not sensible of God s wrath against their 
sins, are careless thereof. The second sort, are 
those which through the law are scared, do feel 
God s anger, and fly from Him ; do strive and 
wrestle with despair, as Saul did, &c. The 
third sort, are they that do acknowledge their 
sins, and God s wrath due unto them for the 
same ; do feel themselves to be conceived and 
born in sin, and therefore deserve everlastingly 
to be damned and lost ; but, notwithstanding, 
they attentively hearken to the sound "of the 
Gospel ; that God, merely out of grace, for the 
sake of Jesus Christ, forgiveth sins, who hath 
satisfied the Father for us ; they do receive and 
believe it, and so are justified before God, and 
afterwards also they show the fruits of their 
faith by all manner of good works, which God 
hath commanded. The other two sorts of people 
go the wrong way. 

Love to Christ sustaining in Service. He 

must be of a high and great spirit that under- 
taketh to serve the people both in body and 
soul, and nevertheless must suffer the utmost 

ILutfjer s 2Tafale Calk. 

danger, and highest unthankfulness. There 
fore Christ said to Peter, Simon, &c., Lovest 
thott Me ? and repeats it three times together. 
Afterwards He said, Feed My sheep : as if He 
would say, Wilt thou be an upright minister, 
and a shepherd ? then love must only do it, thy 
love to Me must do the deed, otherwise it is 
impossible : for who can endure unthankfulness ? 
to give away his wealth and health, and after 
wards to lay himself open to the highest danger 
and unthankfulness of the wicked world ? 
therefore He saith, It is very needful that thou 
lovest Me. 

The Show and Form of the World and the 
Church. The world, to look upon, is like a 
Paradise ; but on the contrary the Church of 
God, and of the Lord Christ, which hath the 
clear and pure doctrine, and holdeth fast there 
by, is evil-favoured and ugly in the eye of the 
world ; but before, and in the sight of God, 
she is dear and precious, costly, and highly 

Aaron appeared gloriously in the temple in 
his rich attire ; therefore we must not regard 

ILutfyet s Cable STalfu 

what the world censureth of us, nor trouble our 
selves how they esteem of us. For, what do I 
care that the popish princes, nobility, citizens, 
and commons do hold and esteem of me as of 
dirt and nothing worth ? I will in due time, and 
in the day to come, regard and esteem of them 
as little. It is in us comfort sufficient to be 
pleasing to the good and godly. 

On Helping the Poor. St. John saith, Me 
that hath this world s goods, and seeth his 
brother have need, and shutteth tip his bowels 
of compassion from him, how divelleth the love 
of God in him ? And Christ saith, He that 
desireth of thee, give to him; that is, to him 
that hath need and is in want. He saith not to 
every idle, lazy, and wasteful companion, which 
commonly are the greatest beggars ; to whom, 
although one gave much and often, yet were 
they nothing helped thereby. In this town (said 
Luther) no men are in greater want than the 
students and scholars. The poverty here indeed 
is great, but idleness and laziness is far greater : 
a man can scarcely get a poor body to work for 
money, and yet they will all beg : there is no 
c 33 

ILutycr s Cable 

good government : though I were able, yet I 
would not give to those idle beggars ; for the 
more one helpeth and givcth them, the more and 
oftener they come. I will not cut my bread 
away from my wife and children, and give it 
to such ; but when one is truly poor, to him 
I will give with all my heart, according to my 
ability. And no man should forget that Scrip 
ture which saith, He that hath two coats, let him 
part with one, &c., for in the Holy Scripture 
naming a coat, meaneth all manner of apparel 
that one hath need of according to his state and 
calling, as well for credit as for necessity. As 
also, by the daily bread is understood, all main 
tenance necessary for the body ; therefore a 
coat, in Scripture, is signified to be all usual 

Of Jeroboam s Calves.- -These calves of 
Jeroboam remain always in the world, and will 
remain to the last day : not that any man 
maketh or causeth calves to be made like 
Jeroboam s. But upon whatsoever a man doth 
depend or trust (God set aside), the same maketh 
to himself calves, as Jeroboam did ; that is, 


he maketh other and strange gods which he 
honoureth and worshippeth instead of the only 
true, living, and eternal God, who only can and 
will help and comfort in all need. In like 
manner also, all such as rely and depend upon 
their arts, wisdom, strength, own sanctity, riches, 
honour, power, connection, ordinance?, or any 
thing, under what title or name soever (on which 
the world buildeth and boasteth), the same 
(I say) do make and worship these calves, as 
Jeroboam did. For they trust in, and depend 
on vanishing creatures, which is merely wor 
shipping of idols, and is idolatry. 

Of Idolatry. Idolatry is plainly this : When 
things are not done and taken in hand according 
to God s Word, and as the same doth describe 
and teach us. For when a man will serve God, 
he must not look upon that which he doth, nor 
upon the work, but he must look how it ought to 
be done, whether God hath commanded it or 
no : Seeing (as Samuel saith) that God hath 
more pleasure in obedience, than in burnt-sacri 
fice. Therefore whoso hearkeneth not to God s 
voice, the same is an idolater, [although he 
c 2 35 

Eutfjcr s able JTalft. 

performed the highest and most heavy service of 
God. As the nature and manner of idolatry is, 
it maketh not choice of that which is esteemed 
easy and light, but of that which is great and 
heavy. This have we seen in the friars and 
monks, who, almost every day, have devised 
new worshippings of God ; but forasmuch that 
God in His Word hath not commanded the 
same, it is therefore altogether idolatry. More 
over and besides, all blaspheming, contemning 
of God s Word, covetousness, wrong, force, un 
just judgments and censures, and the like, are 
mere idolatry ; for what service of God soever a 
human creature doth erect and set up without 
God s Word and command, the same is idolatry, 
as the Scripture saith. 

Whereby the Godhead of Christ is known. 

The Holy Scripture (especially St. Paul) every 
where ascribeth even that unto Christ, which 
He giveth to the Father, namely, the divine 
almighty power ; so that He can give grace, and 
peace of conscience, forgiveness of sins, life, 
victory over sin, death, and the devil. Now, 
unless St. Paul would rob God of His honour 

Eutfjet s Cable 2Talft. 

and would give it to another that is not God, 
he dared not to ascribe such properties and 
attributes unto Christ, if He were not true God ; 
and God Himself saith, Isa. xlii.,/ will not give 
My glory to another. And, indeed, no man can 
give that to another which he hath not himself ; 
but, seeing Christ giveth grace and peace, the 
Holy Ghost also, and redeemeth from the power 
of the devil, of sin and death ; so is it most 
sure, that He hath an endless, an immeasurable 
almighty power equal with the Father. 

Christ bringeth also peace, but not as the 
Apostles brought, namely, through preaching ; 
but He giveth it as a Creator, as His own proper 
creature. The Father createth and giveth life, 
grace, and peace ; and even so giveth the Son 
the same gifts. Now, to give grace, peace, 
everlasting life, forgiveness of sins, to justify, to 
save, to deliver from death and hell, surely 
these are not the works of any creature, but of 
the sole Majesty of God, and such things the 
angels themselves can neither create nor give. 

That Christ is God and Man. That Christ 
is God and Man, the same is above human 


s Cable Calk. 

sense, reason, and understanding. For when 
we are to bring the two Natures in Christ (the 
Divine and Human) into one person, then 
human wit, wisdom, sense, reason, and under 
standing do startle, and say, How can this be ? 
I understand it not. O (said Luther) no thanks 
unto thee for this confession ; for it is not 
written to that end and purpose, that thou 
shouldest understand and comprehend it with 
thy natural sense, wit, and wisdom, but thou 
must yield thyself captive and believe the Word 
of the Gospel through the operation of the Holy 
Ghost, and give God the honour, that He is true. 
Christ saith, John xvi., Matthew xxi., and Mark 
xi., Whatsoever ye shall ask the P ather in My 
name, that will He give unto you Here Christ 
speaketh, as, that He hath all in His hand and 
power, to give every thing which a man prayeth 
unto Him for in faith. 

Christ the Mediator. There is but one God, 
saith St. Paul, and one Mediator between God 
and man; namely, the man Jesus Christ, who 
gave Himself a ransom for all. Therefore, let 
no man think to draw near unto God, or to 

Eutfjtv s Cable 

obtain grace of Him, without this Mediator, 
High-priest and Advocate. Hebrews v. and 
I John ii. 

Now if He be an intercessor for us to God, 
then doth it follow for certain that we arc 
sinners, and are lost ; and we cannot through 
our good works, civil kind of life, virtues, de 
serts, sanctity, neither through the works of the 
law, appease God s wrath, nor obtain forgive 
ness of sins. Likewise, through this one little 
word, Mediator before God, all merits of saints, 
our own good works and righteousness, are 
quite rejected and condemned, so that through 
the same no human creature can be justified 
before God. Moreover, we see thereby how 
fierce and intolerable God s anger is against sins, 
seeing that by none other sacrifice and offering 
they could be appeased and stilled, but only 
through the precious blood of the Son of 

The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ. 
We should not take the whole world in ex 
change for this knowledge that we know that 
Christ is Christ, that He is our only Saviour, 


3Lutf>er s 

our High-priest, our Lord and King. This I 
did not know so long as I lived a friar in the 
monasteries. Now although the case should so 
fall out, that we should lose our lives for the 
sake of the truth, yet Christ liveth, and if He 
liveth, then shall we live also; for His promise 
standeth fast, and will for ever so remain firm 
against the gates of hell. Now Christ whom we 
preach is God ; therefore the whole world in 
comparison of this Christ, is nothing at all. 

All the wise of the world do scoff and scorn 
us Christians, that we with such fervency do 
take Christ s cause in hand, but at last their 
scoffing and scorning will fall into their own 

The chief study in divinity is, that we learn 
to know Christ aright : therefore saith St. Peter, 
Grow up in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; 
namely, that He is the most merciful, the most 
just and wise : and, said he, if I might leave 
behind me but only this lesson, which with 
great diligence I have driven and taught ; 
namely, that people would beware and take 
good heed of speculations, and instead thereof 
would comprehend and take hold on Christ 
only, in the most plain and simple manner ; 

Eutfjcr s 2TabIe JTalfc. 

then I should think myself happy, and that 
I had accomplished much. 

The Knowledge of Christ. The righteous 
ness of works will not submit nor stand proof, 
much less will this prevail in trials and in 
agonies ; nay, will produce anguish of heart to 
those that depend thereon. There is nothing 
on earth that maketh people sure of the forgive 
ness of their sins, and that they are not im 
puted to them, but only an application of Christ, 
through which we receive comfort, and strength 
of faith, in all anguish and sorrows of death. 
Without this knowledge of Christ I am not 
able to endure my conscience, neither am I 
quieted by my own works, or by the righteous 
ness of God s laws, much less have I any com 
fort by my sanctity, which out of my own devotion 
and good opinion make choice of ; yea, the 
devil, through one sin, hunteth me in such sort, 
that I oftentimes think the world is too narrow 
for me, only the knowledge of Christ lifteth me 
up, and setteth my conscience in peace. 

Eutfjrr s Cable Calk. 

Mistrust of Christ. It is a pity that we 
make our sins so great and heavy, and at the 
same time forget our Saviour Christ Jesus, who 
gave Himself an offering for our sins. St. Paul 
knoweth how to comfort and cheer up such, he 
beateth out the barrel s head at once, and saith 
flatly : We must not regard the threatenings of 
the law, nor rely upon the works of the law, but 
only upon Christ, who is our wisdom, righteous 
ness, sanctification and redemption, and richly 
giveth supply to them that need. 

I fail herein, and it maketh me full of sorrow : 
for it is a bewitching of the devil, that we put 
more confidence and trust in human creatures 
than in God. 

I do expect more goodness from Kate my 
wife, from Philip Melanchthon, and from other 
friends, than from my sweet and blessed Saviour 
Christ Jesus ; and yet I know for certain, that 
neither they, nor any other person on earth, will 
or can suffer that for me which He hath suffered ; 
why then should I be afraid of Him ? 

This my foolish weakness grieveth me very 

much. We plainly see in the Gospel, how mild 

and gentle He showeth Himself towards His 

disciples ; how familiar and friendly He passeth 


ILutfyrr s 

over their weakness, their presumption, yea, 
their foolishness, &c. He checketh their unbelief, 
and in all gentleness admonisheth them. More 
over, the Scripture (which is most sure) saith, 
Blessed are they that put their trust in Him. 
Fie on our unbelieving hearts, that we should 
be afraid of this man, who is more loving, 
friendly, gentle, and compassionate towards us 
than are our kindred, our brethren and sisters ; 
yea, than parents themselves are towards their 
own children. 

The Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life. 

It is witnessed by Holy Scripture, and the 
Symbolum of Nice out of Holy Scripture 
teacheth, that the Holy Ghost is He that maketh 
alive, and together with the Father and the Son 
is worshipped, and with them is honoured. 

Therefore the Holy Ghost, of necessity, must 
be true and everlasting God with the Father 
and the Son in one only essence. For if He 
were not true and everlasting God, then could 
not be attributed and given unto Him the divine 
power and honour, that He maketh alive, and 
that together with the Father and the Son, He 


flutter s Cable Calft. 

is worshipped and glorified, touching which 
point the fathers powerfully did set themselves 
against the heretics, and out of Holy Scripture 
stoutly maintained the same. 

The Holy Ghost is God everlasting, as we 
acknowledge and believe in our Christian faith. 
Our Saviour Christ giveth unto Him sundry 
names and titles : First, He calleth Him a Re 
prover, Who reproveth the world of sin, &c. 
Secondly, a Comforter. Thirdly, a Spirit of 
Truth. Fourthly, that He proceedeth from the 
Father ; in each particular it appears that He is 
true and eternal God with the Father and the 
Son. Fifthly, that He witnesseth of Christ, and 
of none other; without this witness of the Holy 
Ghost concerning Christ, there is no true nor 
constant comfort. Therefore (said Luther) it 
resteth all on this, that we take sure hold on 
the text, and say, I believe in Jesus Christ, who 
died for me ; and I know that the Holy Ghost 
(who is called and is a Witness and a Com 
forter) doth preach and witness (in Christen 
dom) of none, but only of Christ, therewith to 
Strengthen and comfort all sad and sorrowful 
-hearts. Thereon will I also remain, and will 
depend upon none other for comfort. 

ILu tfjrr s Cable Calft. 

Forgiveness of Sins. God forgiveth sins 
merely out of grace for Christ s sake ; but we 
must not abuse the grace of God. God hath 
given signs and tokens enough, that our sins 
shall be forgiven ; namely, the Preaching of the 
Gospel, Baptism, the Lord s Supper, and the 
Holy Ghost into our hearts. 

Now it is also needful that we evidence by 
our works that we have received the forgive 
ness of sins, by each forgiving the faults of his 
brother. There is no comparison between God s 
remitting of sins, and that of ours. For what 
are one hundred pence, in comparison of ten 
thousand pounds (as Christ saith) ? Nothing at 
all. And although we deserve nothing by our 
forgiving, yet we must forgive, that thereby we 
may prove and give testimony, that we from 
God have received forgiveness of our sins. 

That Man s Thoughts are wholly Evil. 

We must well and diligently weigh the words 
which the Holy Ghost speaketh through Moses, 
for He saith not slightly, The thoughts of man 
are evil, but, Every imagination of the thoughts 
of his heart is evil continually : insomuch, that 


ILutfjer s Cable 

what a man is able to conceive with his thoughts 
with his understanding and free-will with highest 
diligence, the same is evil, and not once or 
twice, &c., but it is evil continually ; that is, 
always from time to time : and without the Holy 
Ghost, man s reason, his will and understanding, 
is without the knowledge of God ; and to be 
without the knowledge of God, is nothing else 
than to be ungodly, to walk in darkness, and to 
hold that for best which is directly worst. 

But (said Luther) I speak only of that which 
is good in divine things and according to the 
Holy Scripture ; for in this case we must make 
a difference between that which is temporal and 
that which is spiritual, between policy and 
divinity ; for God doth also allow of the govern 
ment of the ungodly, and doth reward their vir 
tues, yet only so far as belongeth to this temporal 
life ; for man s will and understanding con- 
ceiveth that to be good which is external and 
tempora yea also, it taketh the same to be not 
only good, but the best and chiefest good. 

But when we divines deal about free-will, we 
demand what man s free-will is able to accom 
plish in divine and spiritual matters, not in out 
ward and emporal affairs : and we do directly 

g Eable Calk. 

conclude, That man, without the Holy Ghost, is 
altogether wicked before God, although he were 
decked up and trimmed with all the virtues 
of the heathen, and had all their works. 

There are indeed (said Luther) fair and 
glorious examples in the histories of- the 
heathens touching many virtues ; that they were 
fine and temperate, and lived chaste lives ; they 
were bountiful, they loved their country, parents, 
wives, and children ; they were men of courage, 
and behaved themselves courteous and friendly. 

But I say that the very ideas of mankind 
concerning God, concerning the true worship 
ping of God, and concerning God s will, are 
altogether stark blind and darkness. For the 
light of human wisdom, reason, and under 
standing (which alone is given to man), com- 
prehendeth only what is good and profitable 

Concerning Free-Will (in regard to Spirit 
ual Good) before Conversion. This is my 
absolute opinion : he that will maintain and 
defend man s free-will, that it is able to do or 
work any thing in spiritual causes (be they 


Eutfycr s afcle Calk. 

never so small), the same hath denied Christ. 
This I have always maintained in my writings, 
especially in those which I wrote against Eras 
mus of Rotterdam (one of the principal learned 
men in the whole world) ; and thereby will I 
remain, for I know it to be the truth ; and 
though all the world should be against it, and 
otherwise conclude, yet the decree of the Divine 
Majesty must stand fast against the gates of 

I confess that mankind hath a free-will, but 
it is to milk kine, to build houses, &c., and no 
further : for so long as a man is at ease and in 
safety, and is in no want, so long he thinketh 
he hath a free-will which is able to do some 
thing ; but when want and need appeareth, so 
that there is neither meat, drink, nor money, 
where is then free-will ? It is utterly lost, and 
cannot stand when it cometh to the pinch. But 
faith only standeth fast and sure, and seeketh 

Ot Free-Will in Conversion. Some new 
divines do allege, That the Holy Ghost worketh 
not in those that do resist Him, but only in such 

Etttfjer s STable 

as are willing and give consent thereto, whereby 
it appeareth, that free-will is also a cause and 
helper of faith ; whereupon it followeth, That 
faith alone justifieth not, nor that the Holy 
Ghost alone worketh through the Word, but 
that our will doth something therein. 

But I say it is not so ; the will of mankind 
worketh nothing at all in his conversion and 
justification ; Non cst effiriens causa Justifica- 
tionis, sed materialis tantum. It is the matter 
on which the Holy Ghost worketh (as a potter 
maketh a pot out of clay) ; even in those that 
resist and are averse, as in St. Paul. But after 
that the Holy Ghost hath wrought in the wills 
of such resistants and averse parties, then He 
also maketh and prepareth that the will is 
willing, and, as it were, consenting thereunto. 

They say and allege further, That the example 
of St. Paul s conversion is a particular and 
special work of God ; therefore the same cannot 
be brought in for a general rule, as if it should 
be so with all others. I answer, Even like as 
St. Paul was converted, even just so are all 
others converted ; for we all resist God, but the 
Holy Ghost draweth the will of mankind in His 
time, when He pleaseth, through the Word. 
D 49 

Etitijrr s Cable Calft. 

Limits of Human Will. -True it is, and I do 
allow (said Luther) that man s natural strength, 
in some measure, is yet unspoiled. But in what 
measure ? Answer. A man (though he be alto 
gether drowned in ungodliness, and is become 
the devil s own) hath a free-will and power in 
domestic and temporal government ; also to 
rule a ship, and to fulfil such and the like affairs 
which God hath made subject to man, such 
natural strength and abilities are not taken from 
man (although God must be also present therein 
with His almighty power), but are rather con 
firmed by God s Word. 

But the mischief is (said Luther) that the 
sophists will bring these abilities into the 
spiritual kingdom. And it may be, that they 
have found some such stuff in the good fathers ; 
for the Romanists (who understood less than 
horses and mules), brought them into these 
spiritual matters, with which they mingled 
spiritual and temporal things together. 

Therefore, it belongeth to us to cleanse the 
Church from such error as they have brought 
in, and to lay aside such offences, and clear 
them out of the way. 

We can permit such sentences to be right, so 

.ILutfjct s Cafctc 

far as they pertain to this temporal and worldly 
kingdom. But when they bring them into the 
spiritual kingdom, where we have to deal with 
God and conscience, then we flatly say, No. 
For in us there is nothing pure and good ; but 
whatsoever we are and have, the same is alto 
gether drowned in sin. All that is in our wills 
is evil ; and all that is in our understanding is 
blindness and error. 

Teaching the Young. The public sermons 
do very little edify children, who observe and 
learn but little thereby : but it is more needful 
that they be taught and well instructed with 
diligence in schools, and at home that they be 
orderly heard and examined what they have 
learned; that way profiteth much: indeed, the 
same is very wearisome, but is very necessary. 

Earnest Preaching. When I preach in this 
place, I sink myself deeply down. I regard 
neither Doctores nor Magistros, of which are 
here in the church above forty ; but I have an 
eye to the multitude of young people, children 
and servants, of which are more than two thou 
sand. I preach to those, and direct myself to 
D 2 51 

Eutffer s Cable 

them that have need thereof. Will not the rest 
hear me ? The door standeth open unto them, 
they may be gone. I see that the ambition of 
preachers grovveth and increaseth, the same will 
do the greatest mischief in the Church, and will 
produce great disquietness and discord ; they 
will please the worldly wife, and in the mean 
time neglect the simple and common multitude. 

The Little Catechism. So much could not 
be collected out of the books of the fathers 
as (by God s grace) is now taught out of the 
Little Catechism. Truly there have been great 
darknesses in former times : Andrew Carlstadt 
was promoted a doctor in divinity eight years 
before he read in the Bible. At that time (said 
Luther) I only read in the Bible at Erfurt, in 
the monastery : and God then wonderfully 
wrought (contrary to all human expectation) so 
that I was constrained to depart from Erfurt, 
and was called to Wittenburg, where I became 
such a friar, as that (next under God) I gave the 
devil, the Pope of Rome, such a blow, as no 
emperor, king, or potentate could have given 
him the like ; yet it was not I, but God by me, 
His poor, weak, and unworthy instrument. 

flutter s 2TabIe STalfc. 

The Law and the Gospel. It is no small 
matter that we should rightly understand what 
the law is, whereto it serveth, and what is its 
proper work and office. We do not reject the 
law and the works thereof, but we confirm and 
erect the same, and do teach that we ought to 
do good works ; and we also affirm that the law 
is very good and profitable, yet so far, that we 
give him his right, and suffer him to remain 
within his bounds, that is, by his own proper 
work and office ; namely, first, that thereby out 
ward sins be withstood and hindered. Secondly, 
that inward and spiritual sins may be discovered, 
confessed, and acknowledged. 

Therefore the law is a light which lighteth, it 
openeth and maketh visible, not God s grace 
and mercy, nor doth it display unto us the 
righteousness whereby we obtain everlasting 
life and salvation : oh, no ! in no wise : but the 
law openeth and displayeth unto us our sins, 
our weakness, death, God s wrath and judgment. 

But the light of the Gospel is far another 
manner of light ; the same enlighteneth the 
affrighted, broken, sorrowful, and contrite 
hearts ; it reviveth, comforteth, and refresheth 
them. For it declareth, that God is merciful to 


ILufljcr a able Calft. 

unworthy condemned sinners for the sake of 
Christ, and that a blessing thereby is presented 
unto them that believe ; that is, grace, remission 
of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life. 

When in this way we distinguish the law and 
the Gospel, then we attribute and give to each 
his right work and offices. Therefore, I pray 
and truly admonish all the lovers of godliness 
and pure religion (especially those who in time 
are to be teachers of others), that with highest 
diligence they would learn this article, which I 
much fear, after our time, will be darkened 
again, if not altogether extinguished. 

We must also drive on with the Ten Com 
mandments in due time and place. The ungodly 
(said Luther) out of the Gospel do suck only 
carnal freedom, and become worse thereby ; 
therefore not the Gospel, but the law belongeth 
to them. Even as when my little son Hans 
offendeth, if then I should not whip him, but 
call him to the table unto me, and give him 
sugar and plums ; thereby indeed I should make 
him worse, yea, should quite spoil him. 

The Gospel is like a fresh, mild, and cool air 
in the extreme heat of summer, that is, a solace 
and comfort in the anguish of the conscience. 

Eutljrr s ablc Oft. 

But as this heat proceedeth from the rays of the 
sun, so likewise the terrifying of the conscience 
must proceed from the preaching of the law, to 
the end we may know that we have offended 
against the laws of God. 

Now (said Luther) when the mind is refreshed 
again by the cool air of the Gospel, then we 
must not be idle, lie down and sleep ; that is, 
when our consciences are settled in peace, 
quieted and comforted through God s Spirit, 
then we must show also and prove our faith by 
such good works which God hath commanded. 

The Law Viewed as having Power to Save. 

The cause that St. Paul now and then speaketh 
so scornfully of the law is, not that we should 
contemn the law, no, in no wise, but would 
rather that we should esteem and hold it 

But where he teacheth how we become justi 
fied before God, it was necessary for him so to 
speak ; for it is far another thing when we 
dispute, how we may be justified before God, 
than when we deal about the law : when we 
are in hand with the righteousness that justifieth 


ILufljer a Cable Calk. 

before God, then we cannot too much disdain 
nor undervalue the law. 

The reason is this, that the conscience must 
have regard and look to nothing else, but only 
to Christ ; for which cause we must with all 
diligence endeavour to remove Moses with his 
law far from us, and out of our sight, when we 
intend to stand justified before God, and neither 
to receive nor to entertain any thing, but only 
the promise in Christ. 

Of Antinomians. Anno 1541, certain pro 
positions were brought to Luther as he sat at 
dinner, importing, that the law might not be 
preached in the Church, because we were not 
justified thereby. At the sight whereof, he was 
moved to anger, and said, Such seducers do 
come already among our people, while we yet 
live, what will be done when we are gone ? 

Let us (said he) give Philip Melanchthon the 
honour due unto him ; for he teacheth exceed 
ing well and plainly of the right difference, use, 
and profit of the law and gospel, and I teach 
directly also the same, and have thoroughly 
handled that point in the Epistle to the Gala- 

ILutfjer g Cable 2Talfc. 

tians. When the law is cast out of the Church 
then there is no more acknowledging of sin in 
the world. For the Gospel reproveth not sin, 
that being the office of the law, which spiritually 
describeth and revealeth sin as the transgression 
of the law. 

Such speculators are Pestes Ecclesiarum, 
the plagues of the Church ; they have no 
certain nor true knowledge of the divine Word. 
They do even like those that argue in this sort, 
the fulfilling of the law is love ; therefore we 
have no law. But these poor ignorant people 
have no regard to the imperfection of this grace, 
that it is altogether weak in this our flesh, and 
that we must daily fight against this weakness, 
through the Holy Spirit, and that this weakness 
(while we live) must be under the law. 

I do much condemn the Antinomians, who, 
void of all shame, reject the doctrine of the law, 
whereas the same is both necessary and profit 
able. But they see not the effect, the need, and 
the fruit thereof. St. Austin did picture the 
strength, the office and operation of the law, by 
a very fit similitude, namely, that, it discovereth 
our sins, and God s wrath against sin, and 
placeth them in our sight ; for the law is not in 


Eutfjcr g Obit (Calfc. 

fault, but our evil and wicked nature, even as a 
heap of lime is still and quiet, until water be 
poured thereon, but then it beginneth to smoke 
and to burn, not that it is the fault of the water 
but it is the nature and kind of the lime, which 
will not endure water ; but if oil be poured upon 
it, then it lieth still and burneth not : even so 
it is with the law and gospel. 

Of the Fulfilling of the Law. St. Paul 
saith, What the lain could not do, in that it wax 
weak through the flesh, God sending His own 
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin 
condemned sin in flesh; that the righteousness 
of the law might be fulfilled in us, &c. That 
is, Christ is the sum of all, He is the right, and 
pure meaning and contents of the law. Whoso 
hath Christ, the same hath rightly fulfilled the 
law. But to take away the law altogether 
(whereas it sticketh in nature, and is written in 
our hearts, and born in us), the same is a thing 
impossible and against God. And whereas the 
law of nature is somewhat darker, and speaketh 
only of works ; therefore Moses and the Holy 
Ghost do more clearly declare and expound it, 

Jlutfjtr s STable Calft. 

and, / specie, do show the same, by nominating 
those works which God will have us to do, and 
to leave undone. From hence Christ also saith, 
/ am not come to destroy the law. Carnal people 
would willingly give that person royal enter 
tainment which could bring that to pass, and 
could make it good, that Moses through Christ, 
is quite taken away. Oh, then we should quickly 
see what a fine kind of life there would be in 
the world ! But, God forbid, and keep us from 
such errors, and suffer us not to live to see the 

The cause that I at the first so harshly spake 
and wrote against the law was this ; the Chris 
tian Church was grievously burdened with 
manifold superstitions and false believings, and 
Christ was altogether darkened and buried. 

Therefore I was desirous (through the grace 
of God, and the Word of the Gospel) to deliver 
good and godly hearts from such tormenting of 
consciences ; but I never rejected the law. 

Childlike Faith. He that can say, I am a 
child of God through Christ, who is my righ 
teousness, and despaireth not, although he be 


Eutfjet s Cable Calk. 

deficient in good works (as it always faileth us 
therein), he believeth rightly. But grace is so 
great that it amazeth a human creature, and is 
very difficult to be believed. Insomuch that 
faith giveth the honour to God, that He can and 
will perform what He promiseth, namely, that 
He maketh sinners righteous. Rom. iv. 

It is an exceeding hard matter to believe that 
God is merciful unto us for the sake of Christ. 
Oh ! man s heart is too strait and narrow to 
entertain the same, neither can it easily take 
hold thereof. 

When I was a young man (said Luther), and 
at Eisleben, I went with the rest in procession 
on the day of Corpus Chrtsti, and had on me 
my priest s attire ; it happened that I was in 
such sort affrighted before the sacrament, which 
Dr. Staupitz carried, that my sweat brake out, 
being in so great an anguish that I thought I 
should have fallen down dead. Now when the 
procession was ended, I confessed and opened 
my grief to Dr. Staupitz ; he said, Oh, your 
thoughts are not Christ s. These words I re 
ceived with joy, and they were very comfortable 
unto me. 

But is it not to be lamented that we are so 

ILuHjrr * STablc fcalfc. 

wavering and weak in faith ? Christ giveth 
Himself unto us with all that He is and hath ; 
He offereth unto us His celestial everlasting 
wealth, as His grace, remission of sins, eternal 
righteousness, life and salvation ; He nameth us 
His brethren and co-heirs ; yet, nevertheless, we 
are in time of necessity affrighted and do fly 
from Him, when we have most need of His help 
and comfort. 

The little children do stand on the best terms 
with God Almighty concerning their lives and 
faith. We old doating fools do torment our 
selves and have sorrow of heart with our dis- 
putings touching the Word, whether it be true 
or not : How can it be possible ? &c. But the 
children with simple pure faith do hold the 
same to be certain and true, without all 

Of God s Justice and Righteousness. 
These words (said Luther), God s justice and 
righteousness, heretofore were like horrible 
thunder-claps in my conscience ; I was sorely 
affrighted at hearing of them, and thought, If 
God be just, then surely He will punish, &c. 


.Eutijer g ablc (Talft. 

But -when I began more diligently to consider 
of the words, then came to my mind this 
sentence of Habak. ii., The jttst liveth by his 
faith. Also, The righteousness which is accept 
able before God, is revealed without the law. 
Then I presently thought, if the just should live 
by faith, and that the righteousness which is 
acceptable before God shall save all those that 
believe, then surely those words will not terrify 
poor sinners and sorrowful consciences, but 
rather will comfort them. In such wise was I 
refreshed and strengthened, and was assured 
that God s righteousness is not that wherewith 
He punisheth as a stern judge, but wherewith 
He justifieth and saveth sinners which do 
repent. This I received only of the Holy 

Abraham s Faith. When Abraham (said 
Luther) shall rise again at the last day, then 
he will chide us by reason of our unbelief, and 
will say, I had not the hundredth part of the 
promises which ye have, and yet I believed. 
This example of Abraham exceedeth all human 
natural reason, in that he overcame the paternal 

Eutfjcr s Cable 

love wliich he bare -towards his only son Isaac 
(in whom the promises were, that his seed should 
multiply as the stars of heaven, and as the sand 
on the sea-shore), and disregarding all, was 
more obedient to God, and against the law of 
nature would have sacrificed and slaughtered 
his son. What for the space of three days he 
felt in his breast ; how his heart yearned and 
panted ; what pauses and trials he had, the 
.same is not to be expressed. 

The Word of God the Basis of Faith. 

The foundation upon which the faith is built, is 
the Word of God ; whoso hath the same pure 
is able to stand steadfast, and to get the victory 
in the combat against the gates of hell. But 
whoso is not certain of his doctrine and faith, 
and yet will dispute thereof, the same hath 

A preacher, yea, every Christian, should and 
must be certain and sure of his religion and 
doctrine, and not build upon human thinkings, 
but must be sure of the cause. St. Paul calleth 
the .same plerophoria, to the end it may over 
come all trials and vexations, and may also be 


Eutfjer s Cable Calft. 

able to answer the devil and all his angels (yea, 
also God Himself) without wavering ; for in 
divine causes we must not go upon uncertainties, 
but upon sure grounds. 

Justification by Faith. The article of justi 
fication and of the remission of sins is the most 
principal and precious article, very comfortable, 
and to which Satan is an utter enemy. There 
fore St. Paul very valiantly triumpheth in grace ; 
he is continually speaking of grace, grace upon 
grace, therewith to spite the devil ; for the devil 
by no means would suffer Christ to rule and 
govern ; but Christ will rule and gover.n (said 
Luther), maugre the devil in hell, and all 
his instruments on earth ; as St. John in his 
Epistle saith, He that is in you is greater than 
he which is in the world. 

The majesty of the glory of the article of 
justification (said Luther) is altogether unknown 
to human wit and wisdom, seeing that by nature 
we are more inclined to attain to the righteous 
ness of works, than to the bare mercy of God, 
which is given for nothing, and presented unto 
us by grace for the sake of Christ. 

Hutfjct s 

When Good Works are Pleasing to God. 
True it is, good works are well pleasing to God, of 
those which have remission of their sins through 
faith in Christ, the same also have their reward. 
But when the heart dependeth and trusteth 
thereupon, and thinketh thereby to have a 
gracious God, then, instead of good works, they 
are in the sight of God stark naught ; for confi 
dence and trusting must look only on God s 
mercy in Christ. We must not balance our 
works with grace, oh, no ! but they must be done, 
as in obedience ; for we are bound to make this 
concession to God (who is so good, so gracious, 
and so merciful a Father) : When we have done 
all that -we ought to do, yet we are unprofitable 

A righteous person doth good works unforced 
and willingly to God s honour, who hath com 
manded them to be done, and to the good and 
profit of the neighbour ; for such a person can 
not choose, but must do good works voluntarily ; 
like as a good tree which by nature bringeth forth 
good fruit. 

ILtttfjrr s Cable STalfc. 

Prayer without Ceasing. The prayers of 
upright Christians are without ceasing, though 
they pray not always with their mouth, yet their 
hearts do pray continually, sleeping and waking ; 
for the sigh of a true Christian is a prayer. As 
the Psalm saith, Because of the deep sigliing of 
the poor, I will up, saith the Lord, &c. In like 
manner a true Christian always carrieth the 
cross, though he feeleth it not always. 

The Elector John of Saxony. In the year 
1530, the Emperor, Charles V., summoned a 
Diet at Augsburg, intending to bring the dif 
ferences in religion to an agreement ; he at that 
time, tried all crafty means to draw the said 
prince elector from the confession of the 
Gospel ; but the prince (disregarding all flat 
tering friendships, malice, and threatenings), 
would not yield, no, not the breadth of an hair, 
from the true religion and Word of God, though 
he was compassed with many eminent dangers ; 
but, on the contrary, he cheered up and com 
forted his learned divines (which he brought 
with him to the Diet), as Philip Melanchthon, 
Justus Jonas, George Spalatin, and John Agri- 

ILutfjrr s Cable Calk. 

cola ; and charged those of his council to tell 
his divines, That they should deal uprightly to 
the honour and praise of God, and that they 
should regard neither his person, his countries, 
nor people. 

Therefore this prince elector held constantly 
over God s Word, with an excelling princely 
courage ; for, if he had wavered, then all his 
council would have let go hands and feet, and 
have forsaken the Gospel. 

Providential Deliverance. In the year 1539, 
the Papists secretly practised, by warlike pre 
parations, utterly to destroy the Protestant state 
in Germany. For Charles the Emperor (under 
colour to treat upon articles of peace), ordered 
an assembly to meet at Frankfort on the Main. 
To which assembly came John Frederick, Prince 
Elector of Saxony ; Frederick, Prince Elector 
Palatine ; Joachim, Prince Elector Brandenburg ; 
Philip, Landgrave of Hessen, and other princes. 
The emperor sent thither his councillors, to lead 
the Protestants by the nose ; for secretly he had 
fixed twenty-nine thousand choice soldiers about 
Bremen, and Luneburg, which on a sudden should 
E 2 67 

Eutfjcr s JZTable JTalfc. 

have fallen upon the Protestants. But the 
Elector of Saxony and Landgrave Philip (by 
God s care and providence) drew that army to 
their side, insomuch that even those which 
should have been employed for the rooting out 
of the Gospel, were sent by God to fight for 
maintaining and establishing of the same. 

At that time (said Luther) died at Frankfort 
that arch-enemy to the Gospel, George, Prince 
of Saxony, which great link being by God torn 
from the chain, all preparations of war ceased. 
Thanks be to Thee, everlasting God, in that Thou 
wakest, when we sleep. Let us therefore pray, 
and say, Domine, dissipa Gentes, quce bella 

Elevation of the Sacrament. The elevation 
of the sacrament (said Luther) was taken out of 
the Old Testament ; for the Jews observed two 
points, the one called thrutna, the other 
trumpha. Thruma was this : When they took 
an offering out of a basket, and lifted it up 
above them (like as they now lift up the oblate), 
and showed the same to our Lord God, after 
which they either burned or ate it. Trumpha 

ILutfjcr s STable Ealfe. 

was an oftering which they lifted not up above 
them, but showed it towards the four corners of 
the world, like as the Papists in the mass do 
make crosses, and other apish toys, towards the 
four corners of the world. 

When Luther first began to celebrate mass in 
Popedom, and to make such crossings, he said, 
" how am I plagued with the mass, and especially 
with the crossings," which he never could hit 
right. Ah, Lord God ! we were in those times 
poor plagued people, and yet it was nothing but 
mere idolatry. They terrified some in such sort 
with the words of consecration (especially those 
that were good and godly, and meant seriously), 
that they trembled and quaked at the pro 
nouncing of these words, Hoc est corpus meum, 
for they were to pronounce them, sine ulla 
hccsitatione : he that stammered, or left out but 
one word, committed a great sin. Moreover, 
the words were to be spoken without any strange 
cogitations, in such sort, that only he must hear 
them that spake them, and none of the people 
standing by. Such an honest friar (said Luther) 
was I fifteen years together; the. Lord of His 
mercy forgive me. The elevation is utterly to 
be rejected, by reason of the adoring thereof. 


Exitfjrr s Table JTalk. 

Some churches have seen that we have put down 
the elevation, and have followed us therein, 
which giveth us great satisfaction. 

The Cause of the Sacrament. The opera 
tive cause (said Luther) of this sacrament, is 
the word and institution of Christ, who ordained 
it. The substance is bread and wine ; they 
prefigure the true body and blood of Christ, 
which is spiritually received by faith ; the final 
cause of instituting the same, is the benefit and 
the fruit, the strengthening of our faith, not 
doubting that Christ s body and blood was given 
and shed for us, and that our sins by Christ s 
death certainly are forgiven. Now these graces 
and benefits we have obtained, in that He is 
our Saviour, not a stern and angry Judge ; our 
Redeemer and Deliverer, not an accuser nor a 
bailiff that hath taken us prisoners. For though 
in Adam we are altogether sinners and guilty 
of everlasting death, and condemned, but now, 
by the blood of Christ, we are justified, re 
deemed, and sanctified ; therefore let us take 
hold of this by faith. 

ILutljrr E 

Is Rome the Mother Church? I much 
marvel (said Luther) that the Pope boasteth, 
and extolleth his church at Rome to be the 
chiefest, whereas the church at Jerusalem is 
the mother ; for there the doctrine was first 
revealed, and set forth by Christ the Son of 
God Himself, and His Apostles. After the 
same was the church at Antioch, from whence 
the Christians have their name. Thirdly was 
the church at Alexandria ; the Romish was the 
fourth ; and the churches of the Galatians, of 
the Corinthians, Ephesians, of the Philippians, 
&c. were also before the Romish. Is it so great 
a matter that St. Peter was at Rome ? (which 
hitherto never hath been, nor ever will, nor can 
be proved), whereas our blessed Saviour Christ 
Himself was at Jerusalem, where all the articles 
of our Christian faith were made ; where St. 
James received his orders, and was bishop, and 
where the pillars of the Church had their seat. 

Qualities of a Good Preacher. A good 
preacher (said Luther) should have these pro 
perties and virtues : First, to teach orderly. 
Secondly, he should have a ready wit. Thirdly, 


Cable Calfc. 

he should be eloquent. Fourthly, He should 
have a good voice. Fifthly, a good memory. 
Sixthly, he should know when to make an end. 
Seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine. 
Eighthly, he should venture and engage body 
and blood, wealth and honour by the Word. 
Ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked 
and jeered of every one. 

A preacher (said Luther) should be a logician, 
and a rhetorician, that is, he must be able to 
teach, and to admonish ; when he preacheth 
touching an article, so must he first distinguish 
it, what it is properly called. Secondly, he 
must define, describe, and show what it is. 
Thirdly, he must produce sentences out of the 
Scriptures, therewith to prove* and strengthen it. 
Fourthly, he must with examples explain and 
declare it. Fifthly, he must adorn it with simi 
litudes ; and lastly, he must admonish and rouse 
up the lazy, earnestly reprove the disobedient, 
false doctrine, and the authors thereof; yet so 
that it proceedeth not out of malice and envy, 
but only God s honour, the profit and saving 
health of the people. 


Hutfjcr s Rafale Calfc. 

A World-pleasing Preacher. First, he 
must be learned. Secondly, he must have a 
fine deliveiy. Thirdly, he must have neat and 
polite words. Fourthly, he must be a proper 
person, whom women and maids may love. 
Fifthly, he must not take but give money. 
Sixthly, he must preach such things as people 
willingly hear. 

Discrimination in Preaching. A preacher 
most necessarily must know how to make a 
right difference between sinners ; namely, the 
impenitent and secure, &c., and the sorrowful 
and penitent ; otherwise the whole Scripture is 
locked up. As Dr. Amsdorf began to preach 
before the princes at Schmalcalden, with great 
earnestness he said : The Gospel belongeth to 
the poor and sorrowful, and not to you princes, 
great persons, and courtiers, that live in con 
tinual joy and delight, in secureness, void of all 

We should make the hearers prone and 
willing to hear the sequel of our sermons ; 
what a change will follow upon the regenerate. 
This spiritual doctrine of the Gospel troubleth 


Euttjer s Cable Calk. 

and tormenteth even the good and godly ; and 
respecting old people, they have also need of 
the preaching of the law. As we see how 
diligently St. Paul in his Epistles treats of the 
law ; he insisteth that they which are become 
children by grace and faith in Christ, should 
show themselves thankful towards God and be 
obedient unto Him, and resist the sins which 
are yet struggling within us : as where he saith, 
crucify the flesh, and mortify the deeds of the 
body ; and, Cod forbid that ye should now live 
in sin. For we see that not only the law maketh 
hypocrites, but also the doctrine of grace. 
Therefore let us mark this difference well be 
tween penitent and impenitent sinners. 

The Pope s Three Crowns. The Pope hath 
three crowns : the first is directly against God, 
for he condemneth religion. The second is 
against the emperor, for he rejecteth temporal 
government. The third is against the common 
people, for he condemneth the state and condi 
tion of the house government, forbiddeth the 
priests and other his shavelings the state of 
matrimony and house-keeping. 

3Lutf)rr s 

The Pope is Antichrist. Hereby it plainly 
appeareth that the Pope is the right Antichrist, 
for those that transgress his statutes are more 
severely punished than they which offend 
against God s laws and Word. In such sort 
the Pope exalteth himself over and above 
God. Therefore he is properly called the Anti 
christ, in that he sitteth in the temple and 
church of God, and exalteth himself over all 
that is called God, and that is worshipped. The 
Turk is not the Antichrist, for he sitteth not in 
God s Church ; he is a wicked beast, for out of 
God s Church is no Antichrist, but the Pope 
sitteth in the Holy Church, and taketh upon 
him the honour and worshipping which is 
due to God only ; therefore the Pope is the 
right Antichrist. 

Will-Worship and False Religion. All 

manner of religion, let it have never so great 
a name and lustre of holiness, when people will 
serve God without His Word and command, is 
nothing else but plain idolatry ; and the more 
holy and spiritual such a religion seemeth to be, 
the more hurtful and venomous it is ; for it 


Eutfjcr s Cable Calk. 

leadeth people away from the faith of Christ, 
and maketh them to rely and depend upon 
their own strength, works, and righteousness. 

In like manner, all kinds of orders, fastings, 
prayers, hairy shirts, the holiest works of the 
Capuchins (which in Popedom are held to be 
the most holy of all), are altogether works of 
the flesh ; for they hold that they are holy, and 
shall be saved, not through Christ (whom they 
behold and fear as a severe and angry Judge), 
but through the rules of their Order. 

No man (said Luther) can make the Papists 
believe that the private mass is the greatest 
blaspheming of God and the highest idolatry 
upon earth ; the like to which abomination hath 
never been in Christendom since the time of 
the Apostles : for they therein are blinded and 
hardened, therefore all their understanding and 
knowledge of God, and of all divine matters, is 
perverted and erroneous. They hold that to be 
the most upright and greatest service of God 
which, in truth, is the greatest and most abomi 
nable idolatry. And again, they hold that for 
idolatry which in truth is the upright and most 
acceptable service of God ; as the acknowledg 
ing of Christ, and believing in Him. 

3Lutf)cr s Cable Calft. 

Of Purgatory. God hath in His Word laid 
before us two ways ; one, which by faith leadeth 
to salvation ; the other, by unbelief to damna 

As for purgatory, no place in Scripture maketh 
mention thereof, neither must we any way allow 
thereof; for it darkeneth and undervalueth the 
grace, the benefits, and the merits of our blessed 
sweet Saviour Christ Jesus. 

The bounds of purgatory extend not beyond 
this world ; for here in this life the upright, 
good, and godly Christians are well and soundly 
scoured and purged. 

The Bible and the Works of the Fathers. 
When God s Word is by the Fathers expounded, 
construed, and glossed, then, in my judgment, 
it is even like to one who straineth milk through 
a coal-sack, which must needs spoil and make 
the milk black ; even so likewise God s Word 
of itself is sufficiently pure, clean, bright, and 
clear. But through the doctrines, books, and 
writings of the fathers it is very sorely darkened, 
falsified, and spoiled. 


ILutfjcr s Cable Calft. 

About a General Council. Anno 1533, 
Paulus Vergerius, the pope s legate, came to 
Wittenburg to cite Luther to the Council ; 
Luther said unto him, I will be there, God 
willing ; but ye papists (said he) labour in vain, 
ye strangle yourselves with your exploits and 
devices ; for although ye hold a council, yet ye 
treat nothing of wholesome doctrine, nothing of 
the sacraments, nothing of faith, which only 
justifieth and saveth, nothing of good works, 
which God hath commanded, and nothing of an 
honest kind of life and godly conversation ; but 
ye only treat of ridiculous and childish toys, 
namely, what long gowns and garments the 
spiritual persons shall wear, how broad the 
girdles must be, how big and broad their bald 
crowns must be shorn, how and after what sort 
friars and nuns must be reformed and more 
strictly kept ; ye treat also of the differences of 
meat and drink, and such like foolish fopperies. 
When Luther had ended this his speech, the 
pope s legate turned himself from Luther to 
wards his adjuncts, which were joined in 
commission with him, and said, Truly this man 
hitteth the nail right on the head concerning 
the whole principal dealings and proceedings. 

ILutfjrr s Cable Olft. 

When the legate had taken his leave of Luther, 
and was gone, then Luther continued his dis 
course and said : Ah, loving Lord God ! the 
papists despair of their enterprises, practices, 
and councils, for they see and feel that Germany 
(which now, God be praised, hath her eyes 
opened, and is enlightened through the Gospel) 
will henceforward do no more what formerly, 
through superstition and idolatry, it hath been 
bewitched and befooled to do and suffer ; Ger 
many will now no more be cozened and deceived, 
neither by Imperial Diets, nor with councils, be 
they never so wise and crafty. 

Charles V. at Augsburg. The emperor, 
for his own part, is good and honest ; but the 
popish bishops and cardinals are undoubtedly 
knaves. And forasmuch as the emperor now 
refuseth to bathe his hands in innocent blood, 
therefore the frantic princes do bestir themselves, 
do scorn and contemn the good emperor in the 
highest degree. The Pope also for anger is 
ready to burst in pieces, because the Diet in 
this sort, without shedding of blood, should be 
dissolved ; therefore he sendeth the sword to 


SLutfjer s Cable Calk. 

the Duke of Bavaria, to proceed therewith, and 
intendeth to take the crown from the emperor s 
head, and to set it upon the head of Bavaria ; 
but he shall not accomplish it. In this manner 
ordered God the business, that kings, princes, 
yea, and the pope himself, fell from the emperor, 
and that we joined with him, which was a great 
wonder of God s providence, in that he whom 
the devil intended to use against us, even the 
same God taketh, maketh, and useth for us. O 
wonder above all wonders ! 

The Fathers concerning Faith. Behold 
what great darkness is in the books of the 
Fathers concerning faith ; for if the article of 
justification be darkened, then is it impossible 
to smother the grossest errors of mankind. 
St. Jerome, indeed, wrote upon Matthew, upon 
the Epistles to the Galatians and Titus ; but, 
alas ! very coldly. Ambrose wrote six books 
upon the First Book of Moses ; but they are 
very slender. Austin wrote nothing to the 
purpose concerning faith ; for he was first roused 
up and made a man by the Pelagians, when he 
strove against them. The Fathers, indeed, 

ILutfjrr s Cable STalft. 

taught well and finely, but they could not openly 
deliver it, because they had no combating nor 
striving : I can find no exposition upon the 
Epistles to the Romans and Galatians, wherein 
any thing is showed and taught pure and up 
rightly. O (said Luther), what a happy time 
have we now, in regard to the purity of the 
doctrine ; but, alas ! we little esteem it. The 
loving Fathers taught better than they wrote. 
After the Fathers came the pope, and fell in 
with his mischievous traditions and human 
ordinances, and (like a breaking water-cloud 
and deluge) overflowed the Church, snared the 
consciences touching eating of meats, touching 
friars hoods, masses, touching his dirty laws 
and decrees, insomuch as daily and continually 
he brought abominable errors into the Church 
of Christ. 

Respect for the Fathers. Although it be- 
cometh not me to censure the Fathers (I being in 
comparison of them a little worm and of no 
repute) ; yet, notwithstanding, the more I read 
their books, the more I find myself offended ; 
for they were but men, and (to speak the truth) 
F 81 

fLutfrfr 8 Cable Calfc. 

with their repute and authority they did under 
value and suppress the books and writings of 
the sacred Apostles of Christ. From whence 
the papists were not ashamed to say, What is 
the Scripture ? We must read the holy Fathers 
and teachers, for they drew and sucked the 
honey out of the Scripture. As if God s Word 
were not to be understood and conceived by 
none but by themselves ! 

Ah ! The Fathers were but men as we are, 
therefore we must well consider what they say ; 
we must look to their lips. From hence Austin 
laboured wonderfully, who had stumbled and 
offended through human traditions, yet never 
theless he was strong and powerful in the Holy 
Scriptures, and had a fine judgment and under 
standing in causes : he was sharpened by those 
heretics the Pelagians ; he affected the state of 
matrimony, spake well of good bishops (who 
then were ministers), but those times vexed and 
offended him much : if he now were living, he 
would, doubtless, be enraged to see and hear 
the abominations of the pope, in boasting 
of St. Peter s patrimony and inheritance ; the 
same St. Austin would not endure. To con 
clude : Faithful Christians should hear only the 

Matter s Cable 

legation or embassage of our blessed Saviour 
Christ, and hearken to what He saith. 

St. Augustine and St. Jerome. Among all 
the writings of the Fathers, I took most delight 
to read St. Austin s works ; but since the time 
that (by God s grace) I understood St. Paul, I 
could esteem nothing of any Father whatsoever ; 
they are all of very small value. At the first I 
willingly read Austin, but when the door of 
St. Paul was opened unto me (insomuch that 
I knew what was the righteousness of faith), 
then had I done with Austin. The best and 
chiefest sentences in Austin are these : Sins 
are forgiven (saith he), not that they are no 
more present, but in that they are not imputed. 
Likewise he saith, The law as then is fulfilled, 
when that is pardoned which is not fulfilled nor 

Hieronymus (said Luther) should not be 
numbered among the teachers of the Church, 
for he was an heretic ; yet nevertheless I believe 
that he is saved through faith in Christ. He 
speaketh nothing of Christ, but only carrieth 
the name in his mouth. I know none among 
F 2 83 

Eutljrr s STablc Calk. 

the teachers whom I hate like Hieronymus ; for 
he writeth only of fasting, of victual, of virginity, 
&c. He teacheth nothing neither of faith, nor of 
hope, neither of love, nor of the works of faith. 
Truly I would not willingly have entertained- 
him for my chaplain. 

John Huss. Truly he was an honest and a 
learned man, as is to be seen in his book of the 
Church, which I love exceedingly well ; indeed 
there was in him a Christian s weakness ; yet, 
nevertheless, God s power raiseth him up again, 
The continual combat of the flesh and spirit 
in Huss is sweet and delightful to behold. 
Every man s witness standeth and will remain, 
showing that Jerome of Prague was an elo 
quent, but Huss a very learned man. He 
accomplished more than the whole world was 
able to do, but innocently was condemned. 
From that time popedom by degrees began to 
fall. Constance, since the death of Huss, has 
grown a miserable poor city, insomuch that I do 
believe God s punishment struck it, in regard 
the citizens therein armed themselves, led and 
conveyed that holy man, Huss, to the fire. In 

Eutljrr s Cable STalfc. 

Huss the Holy Ghost was powerful, who so 
joyfully and constantly held over God s Word 
against so many people and nations ; namely, 
against Germany, Italy, Spain, England, and 
France, which were assembled together in the 
Council at Constance, against whose assaults, 
cries, and alarms he only stood, was constrained 
to bear them, and thereupon was burned to 
ashes. Even so (said Luther) shall I (God 
willing) be more secure in death than in life. 

Tempted of the Devil. I (said Luther) am a 
Doctor of Holy Scripture, and for many years 
have preached Christ ; yet, to this day, I am 
not able to put Satan off, nor to drive him away 
from me, as willingly as I would ; neither am I 
able so to comprehend Christ and to take hold 
on Him, as in Holy Scripture He is placed be 
fore me ; but the devil continually seeketh how to 
put another Christ into my mind. Yet, never 
theless, we ought to render humble thanks to 
Almighty God, who hitherto hath preserved us 
by His Holy Word, through faith and by prayer, 
so that we know how to walk before Him in 
humility and fear, and not to depend or presume 

on our own wisdom, righteousness, strength, 
and power, but to cheer and comfort ourselves 
in Christ, who is always more than sufficiently 
strong and powerful ; and although we be weak 
and faint, yet we continually vanquish and over 
come through His power and strength in us 
poor, weak, and feeble creatures. For this may 
His Holy Name be blessed and magnified for 
evermore. Amen. 

Conflict wfth the Devil. It is almost in 
credible (said Luther) that God commandeth us 
(weak flesh and blood) to enter combat with the 
devil, and to strive and fight with so powerful a 
spirit as he is, and hath given into our hands 
no other weapon, but only His Word, which by 
faith we take hold on, and therewith we beat 
and overcome him ; the same must needs grieve 
and vex that great and powerful enemy. But in 
such combating, it is very difficult and heavy, 
especially in that we know the devil to be the 
devil ; for no man is able with words to express, 
much less to believe, how that maledicted 
majesty can disguise and transform itself into 
an angel of light. 

Eutfycr s Cable 2Talfc. 

Therefore, if thou intendest to resist Satan, 
then look that thou be well armed and weaponed 
with God s Word, and with prayer. For if thou 
art secure, and without God s Word, then the 
devil is near thee, and lieth upon thee ; thou 
hast no way to resist him, but only and alone 
through God s Word and prayer. For he can 
not endure those blows of defence ; otherwise, 
though thou givest him once his dispatch, and 
turnest him away, yet he will quickly return 
again, especially if thou art secure, and thinkest 
that now all is safe. 

Cheerfulness amidst Trouble. When tribu 
lations approach, then (said Luther) excommu 
nicate them in the name of Christ Jesus, and 
say, God hath forbidden me to receive that 
coin, because it is minted by the devil ; there 
fore we reject it, as being prohibited. 

When heavy temptations come upon thee, 
then expel them by what means thou best 
mayest ; talk with good friends of such things 
as thou takest delight in. But here a man may 
say, Without due consideration, nothing that is 
good can be effected. Hereunto I answer, We 


r s Cable Calfc. 

must make a difference of cogitatiorfs. Those 
of the understanding do produce no melancholy, 
but the cogitations of the will cause sadness ; 
as, when one is grieved at a thing ; or when one 
doth sigh and complain, those are melancholy 
and sad cogitations, but the understanding is 
not melancholy. 

When I write against the pope, I am not 
melancholy ; for then 1 labour with the brains 
and understanding ; then I write with joy of 
heart ; insomuch, that not long since Dr. 
Reisenpusch said unto me, I much marvel that 
you can be so merry ; if the case were mine, 
it would go near to kill me. Whereupon I 
answered him, and said, Neither the pope, 
nor all his shaven retinue, can make me sad : 
for I know that they are Christ s enemies , 
therefore I fight against him with joyful 

Since the time that Silvester wrote against 
me, and in his book gave himself this title, The 
Master of the Holy Palace, and that I saw the 
bigot wrote such stuff as constrained me thereat 
to laugh and jest ; I say, since that time, I 
scorned him, his master the pope, and all his 
popish crew. 

"ILutljrt s JTablc Calfc. 

Defence against Melancholy. As I said 
before, so I say still, That all heaviness of mind 
and melancholy cometh of the devil ; for he 
is the lord of death (Hebrews ii.), especially 
when a man is possessed with such thoughts 
as, that God is not gracious unto him ; or, that 
God will have no mercy upon him, &c. There 
fore whosoever thou art, that art possessed with 
such heavy thoughts, know for certain, that the 
same is a work and driving of the devil : for 
God hath sent His Son into the world, not to 
affright but to comfort sinners. From hence 
these and the like sentences are oftentimes ex 
pressed in Holy Scripture ; Rejoice: be joyful 
in the Lord. Be not afraid. Be not discouraged. 
Be of good comfort, I have overcome the world. 

Therefore in such tribulations thou oughtest 
to be of good courage, and to think, that hence 
forward thou art not the child of an human 
creature, but of God through faith in Christ, in 
whose name thou art baptised ; therefore the 
spear of death cannot enter into thee ; he hath 
no right unto thee, much less can he hurt or 
prejudice thee, for he is everlastingly swallowed 
up through Christ. 

It is better for a Christian (said Luther) to 

3Lutfjrr s Obit 

be sorrowful than to be secure, as the people 
of the world be. Well is he (saith the wise 
man, Prov. xxviii.) that standeth always in fear ; 
yet so, that he knoweth he hath in heaven a 
gracious God, for Christ s sake, as the Psalm 
saith, The Lord s delight is in them that fear 
Him, dn d put their trust in His mercy. 

No man ought to lay a cross upon himself, 
or to make choice of a tribulation (as is done in 
popedom) : but if a cross or tribulation cometh 
upon him, then let him suffer it patiently, 
and know that it is good and profitable for 

Therefore I hope that our loving Lord God 
will graciously help us, and put an end to our 
tribulations. In the meantime let us cheer up 
ourselves in patience, and let us with joy and 
comfort keep in mind what St. Paul saith, 
Through much tribulation we must enter into 
the kingdom of heaven. And all that will live 
godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution. 

A True Believer must have Trouble. A 
true Christian (said Luther) should be a joyful 
creature ; and although we must suffer many 

Eutfjcr s STablc 

plagues and tribulations outwardly and inwardly, 
both of the world and the devil, let it go on, let 
us not be dismayed, but call upon God and have 
patience ; He is a help in time of need ; He will 
not leave us comfortless, nor let us die in tribu 
lations, for they are good and necessary for us, 
to the end God s strength, in our weakness, may 
be the stronger. Let us behold how, and in 
what manner the holy patriarchs, the prophets, 
and apostles were dejected and discouraged. 
How then should we go scotfree, that are poor, 
miserable, and weak worms ? 

The Lord our God is a God of the humble 
and perplexed hearts which are in need, in 
tribulation, and in danger, in whom He showeth 
His power ; for if we were strong, then should 
we be proud and haughty. God cannot show 
His power, nor make proof thereof, but only in 
our weakness : He will not quench the glimmer 
ing flax, neither will He break in pieces the 
bruised reed. 

God loveth tribulations, and He also hateth 
them ; He loveth them, when we thereby are 
stirred up to pray, and to trust in God ; again, 
He hateth them, when by reason thereof we 
grow faint and dismayed. Therefore, when we 


l/utljcr s Cable 

are well, then let us sing to God a. Psalm and 
praise Him ; but if we be not well and merry, 
then let us call upon God, and pray ; for the 
Lord hath pleasure in them that fear Him, and 
wait upon His mercy. 

Letter to a Father Mourning for a Son Lost. 

Although it be nowhere forbidden in Holy 
Scripture to mourn and to be grieved for the 
death of a godly child or friend (for we have 
many examples of the godly, who have bewailed 
the death of their children and friends), yet 
notwithstanding, there ought to be a measure in 
sorrowing and mourning. Therefore, loving 
Doctor, you do well in mourning and lamenting 
for the death of your son. But let not the same 
exceed the measure of a Christian, in refusing 
to be comforted. I would have you, first, to 
consider, that God gave that son unto you, and 
took him from you again. Secondly, I would 
wish you to follow the example of that just and 
godly man, Job, who when he had lost all his 
children, all his wealth and substance, at last 
said, Have we received good at the hand of the 
Lord, and shall we not receive evil f The Lord 

Eutfjrt s Cable 

gave, find the Lord hath taken away, Messed 
be the name of the Lord, &c. 

He rightly considered, that both good and 
evil cometh of the Lord ; even so do you like 
wise, then you shall see that you have much 
greater gifts and benefits left of God unto you, 
than the evil which you now feel. But you look 
now only upon the evil, namely, that your son is 
dead ; and, in the meantime, you forget the 
glorious treasury of God, namely, that He hath 
given unto you the knowledge of His Word, 
also a good and peaceable conscience, which 
alone should overweigh all evil which may 
happen unto you ; why then do you plague and 
torment yourself with the death of your son ? 
But in case the loss be great and heavy, yet it is 
no new thing, you are not alone in that case. 
He liveth now with Christ ; oh ! would to God 
that I had finished my course ; I would not 
wish myself here again. Your suffering is only 
a corporal cross. You are a good logician, and 
you teach others that art ; make use thereo. 
yourself at this time ; put the same in practice, 
define, divide, separate and conclude, learn to 
distinguish that which is spiritual, and to sepa 
rate the same from that which is corporal. 


ILutfjtt s Cable Calk 

It was a fine speech of Maximilian, the 
Emperor, wherewith he comforted King Philip, 
his son, who deeply bewailed the death of a 
godly, a faithful, and an honest able man that 
was slain in a battle. His words were these : 
Loving Philip ! Thou must accustom thyself to 
these misfortunes ; thou shalt lose yet many of 
those whom thou lovest. 

Troubles about Predestination and Election. 

Concerning predestination, it is best to begin 
below at Christ, as then we both hear and find 
the Father ; for all those that have begun at the 
top have broke their necks. I have been well 
and thoroughly plagued and tormented with 
such cogitations of predestination ; I would 
needs know how God intended to deal with me, 
&c. But at last, God be praised, I clean left 
them ; I took hold again of God s revealed 
Word ; higher I was not able to bring it, for no 
human creature can ever search out the celestial 
will of God ; the same God hideth for the sake 
of the devil, to the end the crafty spirit may 
be deceived and put to confuston : the revealed 
will of God the devil hath learned of us ; but 

3Lutfjer s Cable GTalft, 

God reserveth His secret will to Himself, and 
concealeth the same. It is sufficient for us to 
learn and know Christ in His humanity, in 
which the Father hath revealed Himself. But 
we, like fools, will gabble and search after God s 
secrets ; therefore such as thereupon plunge 
themselves into despair are rightly served. 

Monastic Life. St. Bernard was the best 
friar, whom I love above all the rest ; yet he 
dared to say, It were a sign of damnation, if one 
remained not in the monastery. St. Bernard lived 
in dangerous times under the Emperors Henry 
the Fourth and Fifth, under Emperor Conrad, 
and Lotharius ; he was an experienced friar, 
but he gave an evil example. The friars, espe 
cially the Minorites and Franciscans, had the 
best and easiest days through hypocrisy ; they 
touched no money, yet they were the richest, 
and lived in great quietness. The evil friar s 
life began betimes, when people under the 
colour of piety abandoned temporal dealing : 
this was and is very hateful, and produced much 
loathing ; but the estate and calling of a true 
Christian (which God ordained and founded) 


3Ltttfjcr s Cable Calk. 

consisteth of three hierarchies, namely, in 
domestic, in temporal, and church govern 

Austin, who although he lived in the good and 
acceptable time, yet he was deceived through 
the crowning of monastery nuns and virgins ; 
and although he gave them leave to marry, yet 
he said they did unright in marrying, and sinned 
against God. Afterwards when the time of 
wrath and blindness came, and the truth was 
hunted away, and lying got the upper hand, then 
the generation of poor women was contemned 
under the colour of great holiness, which in 
truth was mere hypocrisy. But Christ with 
one sentence confuteth all their arguments ; 
namely, God created them male and female. 

False Brethren. The greatest and fiercest 
strife which Christians have, is with false 
brethren. If a false brother would openly 
confess and say, I am a Pilate, a Herod, a 
Caiaphas, or an Annas, that is, if he would 
put off the name of a believing Christian, 
and profess himself an open enemy to Christ, 
then we would with patience suffer and endure 

ILwtfjtr s 

all the evil that such a one were able to work 
against us. But insomuch that they will carry 
the name of Christians, the same we neither 
may, can, nor will endure, in that they speak 
and act what belongeth not to Christians. 

Life a Voyage. Our life (said Luther) is 
like unto the sailing of a ship ; for like as the 
mariners in the ship have before them a port or 
haven, towards which they direct their course, 
and where they shall be secure from all danger ; 
even so the promise of everlasting life is made 
unto-us ; that we in the same, as in a safe port, 
or haven, should rest calmly and secure. But 
seeing the ship wherein we are is weak ; and the 
winds and waves do beat into and upon us, as 
though they would overwhelm us, therefore we 
have truly need of an understanding and expe 
rienced pilot, who with his counsel and advice 
might rule and govern the ship, that it run not 
on a rock, or utterly sink and go down. Such a 
pilot is our blessed Saviour Christ Jesus. 


ILutfjer s Cable 

Prayer as a Father. Loving Heavenly Father, 
forasmuch as Thou hast placed me in the honour 
of Thy Name and office, and wilt also have me 
to be named and honoured a father, grant me 
grace, and bless me, that I may rule and main 
tain my loving wife, children and servants, 
divinely and Christian- like. Give me wisdom 
and strength well to govern and to bring them 
up j give also unto them good hearts and wills 
to follow Thy doctrine and to be obedient. 

The Lord Ruleth. Potentates and princes in 
these days (said Luther), when they take in hand 
an enterprise, do not pray before they begin ; 
but they make to themselves this account and 
reckoning, three times three makes nine, twice 
seven is fourteen, this faileth not, &c. ; that is, 
in this manner must the business surely take 
effect ; therefore our Lord God saith unto them, 
For whom then do ye hold me, for a cypher ? 
Do I sit here above in vain, and to no purpose ? 
You shall therefore know, that I will turn your 
accounts quite contrary, and will make them all 
false reckoning. 

Eutfjcr s Arabic Ealft. 

Henry VIII. I am lately informed that 
Henry, King of England, is fallen from the 
Gospel again, hath commanded upon pain of 
death that the people shall receive the sacra 
ment only under one kind, and that spiritual 
persons, friars and nuns, shall perform their 
vows, and tear in pieces their marriages, whereas 
before he had done quite the contrary. At 
this the .papists will jeer, and boast : indeed 
it is a great offence, but let it go : that king 
is still the old Hintz, as in my first book 
I pictured him ; he will surely find his judge ; 
I never liked his resolutions, in that he would 
kill the pope s body, but preserve his soul ; 
that is, his false doctrine. The king was always 
unconstant and of a wavering mind. 

The Augsburg Confession. As Emperor 
Charles read our confession at Augsburg, he 
openly spake these words : I would wish this 
doctrine were taught throughout the whole 
world. Likewise said Prince George, I know 
very well that many abuses are in the Church ; 
if the same were by the pope abolished, then 
I would willingly entertain and receive this 
G 2 99 

Eutfjer s Cable 

doctrine ; but I will not receive it of a runaway 
friar, meaning me. If (said Prince George) God 
caused His Word to be preached through great 
potentates and princes, then we would entertain 
it. Yea (said Luther), standeth the case so ? 
But God thought it more fitting to make use of 
poor fishermen, of Peter, of Andrew, &c. God 
had need of Amos the shepherd, He will none 
of your approbations. At the Imperial Diet at 
Augsburg, Emperor Charles had eight-and-thirty 
chancellors attending on him. 

A Downcast Man. Luther, at Wittenberg, 
discerning a very melancholy man (whom for 
merly he well knew), said unto him, Ah ! human 
creature, what doest thou ? Hast thou nothing 
else in hand but to think of thy sins, on death, 
and damnation ? Turn thine eyes quickly away, 
and look hither to this man Christ, of whom it 
is written, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, 
borh of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died, buried, 
descended into hell, the third day arose again 
from the dead, and ascended itp into heaven, &c. 
Wherefore doest thou think that all this was 
done ? Verily it was that thou shouldest comfort 

Eutfjer s able Calfc. 

thyself against death and sin ; therefore forbear, 
be not afraid, neither do thou faint, for truly 
thou hast no cause : for Christ suffered death 
for thee, and prevailed for thy comfort and 
defence, and for that cause He sitteth at the 
right hand of God His Heavenly Father to 
deliver thee. 

Legends of Saints. Few of the legends are 
pure ; the legends of the martyrs are least 
suspected, as they who proved their faith, and 
sealed the same with their blood. The legends 
of the friars, especially of the hermits, which 
dwell all alone from people, called anchorites, 
are abominable ; for they have many strange, 
horrible, and lying miracles and fooleries, 
touching wonderful moderation, chastity, and 
nurture. I hold much of those saints which are 
not particularly known, which do live after 
a public way like other people, without hypo 
crisy ; they boast not, neither do they permit 
themselves to be noted. 


Eutfjer s liable Calk. 

A Good General. A valiant and brave 
soldier seeketh rather to preserve one citizen 
and man, than to destroy a thousand enemies, 
as Scipio the Roman general said. Therefore 
an upright soldier beginneth a war not lightly 
without urgent cause. Upright and true soldiers 
and captains make not many words ; they are 
discreet, they discourse not much, for they have 
seen people ; when they speak, then the deed is 

Paris University in the Sixteenth Century. 
Paris in France is the most famous and sur 
passing school, wherein are above twenty 
thousand students. The divines have the most 
pleasant place in the city, a particular street ; 
at both ends are strong gates, called the Sor- 
bona ; named, as I take it, of the Sorbis apples 
that grow on the Dead Sea, which on the outside 
are very fair to behold, but within they are full 
of ashes. Even so is the University at Paris, 
where a multitude of scholars are, but she is the 
mother of many errors. When they dispute, 
then they cry confusedly among themselves like 
drunken country clowns at a May-game, Latin, 
1 02 

Eutfjcr s Cable Calk. 

Italian, and French, one through another. 
Afterwards they stamp with their feet, to the 
end silence may be kept. No man may be 
made a doctor in divinity except he hath studied 
ten years in their unprofitable sophistry. The 
respondent must sit a whole day, from six in 
the morning until six at night, and attend the 
disputation ; must answer every one. When 
they publicly promoted doctors of divinity at 
Burges in France, they gave to each of them a 
fish angle, therewith to catch people. 

Jews and Christians. The Jews (said Luther) 
must be encountered with strong arguments, as 
where Jeremiah speaketh touching Christ, Be 
hold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will 
raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a 
King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute 
judgment and justice in the earth, in His days 
Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell 
safely, and this is His name whereby He shall 
NESS. This argument the Jews are not 
able to solve ; and forasmuch as they refuse to 
grant that this sentence is not spoken of Christ, 


ILutfjcv s Cable Calk. 

therefore of necessity they must give and show 
unto us another king descended from David, 
who should govern so long as the sun and moon 
endure, as the promises of the prophets do sound. 

The poor blind and hardened Jews do boast 
of the righteousness of the law, whereas they 
are not able to fulfil the same ; yea, such is 
their zeal for the law, they really blaspheme 
God, for out of the Land of Promise they were 
not to observe the law. To conclude, inasmuch 
as the Jews have been forsaken now above 
fifteen hundred years, a nation without govern 
ment, without laws, without prophets, and 
without temple. This argument they are not 
able to solve, it striketh them to the ground 
like a thunder-clap ; they are able to shew none 
other reason nor cause for the same than their 

Two Rabbis of the Jews (said Luther), named 
Schamaria and Jacob, came to me at Witten 
berg, desiring of me letters of safe conduct, 
which I granted unto them. With the same 
they were well pleased, only they earnestly 
besought me, that I would leave out the word 
Tola, that is, Jesus " crucified " ; for they cannot 
forbear, but must needs blaspheme the name 

Hutrjcv s Cable Calfe. 

Jesus ; they exceedingly hate that song which 
we used to sing in the Church, Christ is risen 
from the dead. They said, It is most wonderful 
that so many thousands of innocent people have 
been slaughtered, touching whom there is no 
mention made, only Jesus, the crucified, must 
always be remembered ; His death cannot be 

Another Jew repaired unto me at Wittenberg 
(said Luther), and told me, he was very desirous 
to be baptised, and made a Christian, and said, 
he would first go to Rome to see the chiefest 
head of Christendom. From this his intention, 
myself, Philip Melanchthon, and other divines, 
laboured to frustrate and hinder in the strongest 
measure : for we feared, when he should behold 
the offences and knaveries at Rome, that he 
might thereby be scared from Christendom. 
But the Jew went to Rome, and when he had 
sufficiently seen abominable things acted there, 
he returned unto us again, desiring to be 
baptised, and said, now I will willingly worship 
the God of the Christians, for He is a patient 
God. Can He endure and suffer such wicked 
ness and villainy at Rome, so can He suffer and 
endure all the vices and knaveries in the world. 


3Lutfjet s 2Tablc Calft. 

Music. Music is one of the fairest and most 
glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter 
enemy, therewith many tribulations and evil 
cogitations are hunted away. It is one of the 
best arts, the notes give life to the text ; it 
expelleth melancholy, as we see on King Saul. 
Kings and princes ought to preserve and main 
tain music, for great potentates and rulers ought 
to protect good and liberal arts and laws ; and 
although private people have desire thereunto 
and love the same, yet their ability cannot pre 
serve and maintain it. We read in the Bible, 
that the good and godly kings maintained and 
paid singers. Music is the best solace for a sad 
and sorrowful mind, through which the heart 
is refreshed and settled again in peace, as is 
said by Virgil, Tu Calamos inflare leves, ego 
dicere -versus : Sing thou the notes, I will sing 
the text. Music is a half discipline and school 
mistress, that maketh people more gentle and 
meek, more modest and understanding. The 
base and evil fiddlers and minstrels serve thereto, 
so that we see and hear how fine an art music 
is ; for white can never be better known, than 
when black is held against it. 

1 06 

Singing to be taught in all Schools. We 

must of necessity maintain music in schools ; a 
schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, 
otherwise I would not regard him ; neither 
should we ordain young fellows to the office of 
preaching, except they have been well exercised 
and practised in the school of music. Music is 
a fair gift of God, and near allied to divinity ; I 
would not for a great matter be destitute of the 
small skill in music which I have. The youth 
ought to be brought up and accustomed to this 
art, for it maketh fine and expert people. 

Lawyers and Divines. Ye Lawyers take heed 
that ye tread not us divines under your feet ; if 
ye do, then be assured that we will sting your 
heels. If I intended to study but two years 
in the laws, I would be better learned therein 
than Dr. Jeronymus Schurf; for I would dis 
course touching causes, as in truth they are and 
ought to be understood of themselves either 
uprightly or unjustly ; but he contesteth only 
about words, he goeth not upon the ground to 
speak of the plain truth, but he resteth upon a 


Eutfjer s Rafale Calfe. 

Quos, which he may screw every way : they 
talk much, and make many words, but without 
understanding. Dr. Schurf may justly be called 
Dr. Quos. The doctrine of the lawyers is 
nothing but merely a Nisi, that is, unless this or 
that; Nisi must be in every case ; but divinity 
goeth not about with Nisi, but it is certain, and 
hath a constant and sure ground which neither 
faileth nor deceiveth. Lawyers have need 
of the help and assistance of divines, but we 
have no need at all in divinity of their voice 
and part-taking. 

Pilate s Character and Conduct. Pilate held 
stiffly over the Roman laws and rights ; he would 
not that the innocent (and such as were not 
openly convicted in an offence) should be exe 
cuted and slain without hearing of the cause ; 
therefore he propounded all manner of civil 
conditions, to the end he might have released 
Christ ; but when they threatened him with the 
Emperor s disfavour, then he was dazzled, and 
forsook the Imperial laws ; thought, it is but the 
loss of one man, who is both poor, and there- 

- 1 08 

ILutljcr s Cable Calk. 

withal contemned ; no man taketh His part ; 
what hurt can I receive by His death ? Better 
it is that one man die, than that the whole nation 
be against me. 

Dr. Mathesius and Pommer debated about 
this question, Why Pilate scourged Christ, and 
said, What is truth ? For the one alleged, that 
Pilate did it out of compassion ; but the other 
said, It was done out of tyranny and contempt. 
Whereupon Luther said, Pilate was a worldly 
man : he scourged Christ out of great compas 
sion, to the end that thereby he might still the 
insatiable wrath and raging of the Jews. And 
in that he said to Christ, What is truth ? He 
would therewith give us to understand thus 
much, as if he had said, What wilt Thou dispute 
concerning truth, in these wicked times ? Truth 
is here of no value, &c. But Thou must think 
upon some other trick, and upon the lawyer s 
quiddits, as then happily Thou mayest be 

Wealth is the Least Gift of God. Riches is 

the smallest thing on earth, and the least gift that 
God hath bestowed on mankind. What is it in 


ILutfjer s Rafale Calk. 

comparison of God s Word ? yea, what is it to 
be compared with corporal gifts ; as beauty, 
health, &c. ? nay, what is it to the gifts of the 
mind ; as understanding, art, wisdom, &c. ? 
Yet are men so eager after it, that no labour, 
travel, nor danger is regarded in getting of 
riches. There is in it neither Materialis, for- 
malis, efficiens, et finalis causa, nor any thing 
else that is good ; therefore our Lord God com 
monly giveth riches to such from whom He 
withholds all spiritual good. 

The Sacrifice of the Mass. The Papists at 
the Imperial assembly dealt with us through 
threatenings ; they would force us to consent 
that the Mass was a sacrificing of the life, to the 
end they might help themselves only with this 
word, sacrificing, as a cloak of their shame. I 
would permit the Mass to be a sacrifice of praise, 
if again they would yield and allow, that not 
only the priest, but also every communicant 
which received, did offer thanksgiving unto 

The Mass ought to be abolished, chiefly for 


ILutfyer s Cable Calfe. 

two reasons : first, it is a divine blaspheming of 
God ; secondly, a political sin, namely, a deceit, 
and a theft. 

Faith and Work. We must teach of good 
works, yet always so that the article of justifica 
tion remain pure and unfalsified, namely, that 
faith only in Christ justifieth and saveth. For 
Christ neither can nor will endure any beside 
Himself, He will have the bride alone, He is full 
of jealousy. 

If He should teach thus, and say, If thou 
believest, thou shalt be saved, whatsoever thou 
doest ; that were stark naught ; for faith is 
either false and feigned, or although it be upright, 
yet it is eclipsed, when people wittingly and 
wilfully sin against God s command. And the 
Holy Spirit, which is given to the faithful, de- 
parteth through evil works, done against the 
conscience, as the example of David sufficiently 

The Future Life. As lately I lay very sick 
(said Luther) and so sorely sick that I thought I 
should have left this world, many cogitations and 


3Lutf)er s Cable Calfc. 

musings I had in my weakness. Ah ! thought 
I, What may that eternity be ? What joys may it 
have ? &c. Nevertheless, I know for certain, 
that the same eternity is already ours ; through 
Christ it is given and prepared for us, if we can 
but believe. There it shall be opened and 
revealed ; here we shall not know when a new, 
or a second creation of the world shall be, 
seeing we understand not the first creation, 
which He made for us, without any of our 
counsel. Therefore ought we justly to give Him 
the honour, and to leave to His divine power 
and goodness the new creation of the life to 
come, and not to presume to search or speculate 
out the same. 

Good Princes. When a country has a good 
prince over it, all goes well. Without a good 
prince things go backwards like a crab, and 
councillors, however many, will not mend them. 
A great soldier is the man ; he has not many 
words ; he knows what men are, and holds his 
tongue ;. but when he does speak, he acts also. 
A real hero does not go about his work with 

ILutfjct s able Calfc. 

vain imaginations. He is moved by God 
Almighty, and does what he undertakes to 
do. So Alexander conquered Persia, and 
Julius Caesar established the Roman Empire. 
The Book of Judges shows what God can 
do by a single man, and what happens 
when God does not provide a man. Certain 
ages seem more fruitful in great men than 
others When I was a boy there were many. 
The Emperor Maximilian in Germany, Sigis- 
mund in Poland, Ladislaus in Hungary, Ferdi 
nand, Emperor Charles s grandfather, in Spain 
pious, wise, noble princes. There were good 
bishops too, who would have been with us had 
they been alive now. There was a Bishop of 
Wurzburg who used to say, when he saw a 
rogue, " To the cloister with you ! Thou art 
useless to God or man." He meant that in the 
cloister were only hogs and gluttons, who did 
nothing but eat, and drink, and sleep, and were 
of no more profit than as many rats. 

The Best Preachers and Hearers. I esteem 
those to be the best preachers which teach the 
common people and youth most plainly and 

Eutljrr g Cable Talk. 

simply, without subtilty, screwed words, or 
enlargements. Christ taught the people by- 
plain and simple parables. In like manner, 
those are the best hearers that willingly do hear 
and believe God s Word simply and plainly, 
and although they be weak in faith, yet so long 
as they doubt not of the doctrine, they are to be 
holpen forward ; for God can and will bear with 
weakness, if it be but acknowledged, and that 
we creep again to the cross, and pray to God 
for grace, and amend ourselves. 

Luther s Divinity School. I did not learri 
my divinity at one only time, but I was con 
strained to search deeper and deeper, to which 
my temptations brought me ; for no man, with 
out trials and temptations, can attain to the 
true understanding of the Holy Scriptures. 
St. Paul had a devil that beat him with fists, 
and with temptations drove him diligently to 
study the Holy Scripture. I had cleaving and 
hanging on my neck the Pope, the Universities, 
all the deep-learned, and with them the devil 
himself ; these hunted me into the Bible, 
wherein I diligently read, and thereby, God be 

ILutijcr s 

praised, at length I attained to the true under 
standing of the same. The Holy Scripture of 
itself is certain and true enough ; but God grant 
me the grace that I may catch hold on the right 
use thereof ; for when Satan disputeth with me 
in this sort, namely, whether God be gracious 
unto me or no ? then I must not meet him with 
this text : Whoso loveth God with all liis heart, 
with all his so2il, and with all his strength, the 
same shall inherit the kingdom of God ; for then 
the devil presently objecteth, and hitteth me in 
the teeth, and saith, Thou hast not loved God 
with all thy heart, &c. ; which indeed is true, 
and my own conscience therein witnesseth 
against me ; but at such a time I must arm 
myself, and encounter him with this text, 
namely, That Jesus Christ died for me, and 
through Him I have a gracious God and Father : 
Christ hath made an atonement for me, as St. 
Paul saith, He is of God given unto us for 
wisdom, for righteousness, for holiness, and for 

Unsearchableness of God s Works. All the 
Works of God are unsearchable and unspeak 
able ; no human sense can find them out, only 
H 2 115 

ILtttljEt s able Calft. 

Faith takes hold thereof without human power 
or addition. No human creature can take hold 
or know God in His Majesty, and therefore hath 
He set Himself down in the simplest manner, and 
was made Man, yea, was made sin, death, and 
weakness. He was simple indeed, and mean 
enough when He took upon Him the quality of a 
servant, as St. Paul saith to the Philippians. 
But who can believe it ? We think that the 
Turkish Emperor is much more mighty, Eras 
mus Rotterdamus much more learned, a friar 
far more good and godly than God Himself is. 

Useless Questionings. When one asked, 
Where God was before heaven was created ? 
St. Austin made answer thereunto and said, He 
was in Himself. And as another asked me the 
same question, I said, He was building of hell 
for such idle, presumptuous, fluttering spirits 
and inquisitors. After He had created all 
things, He was everywhere, and yet He was 
nowhere ; for I cannot fasten nor take hold of 
Him without the Word. But He will be found 
there where He hath bound Himself to be. 
The Jews found him at Jerusalem by the Throne 

Etttljcr s Cablr Olfc. 

of Grace, Exodus xxv. We find him in the 
Word and Faith, in Baptism and Sacraments ; 
but in His Majesty He is nowhere to be found. 

It was a special grace in the Old Testament, 
when God bound Himself to a certain place 
where He would be found, namely, in that place 
where the Tabernacle was, towards which they 
prayed ; as first, in Silo and Sichem, afterwards 
at Gibeon, and lastly at Jerusalem in the 

The Greeks and Heathens in after times did 
imitate the same, and did build temples for 
their idols in certain places, as at Ephesus for 
Diana, at Delphi for Apollo, &c. For, where 
God built a church there the devil would also 
build a chapel. They imitated the Jews also in 
this, namely, that as the most holiest was dark, 
and had no light, even so and after the same 
manner did they make their places dark where 
the devil made answer, as at Delphi, and 
elsewhere. In such sort is the devil always 
God s ape. 

But whereas the most holiest must be dark, 
the same did signify that the Kingdom of Christ 
no other way was to be taken hold of and 
fastened, but only by the Word and by Faith. 


ILutfjcr s Oblc Calfc. 

The Wisdom of the World. The highest 
wisdom of the world is to trouble themselves 
with temporal, earthly, and vanishing things ; 
and as it happeneth and falleth out with those 
things, they say, Non putaram ; I had not 
thought it. For faith is a certain and a sure 
expectation of that which a man hopeth for, and 
maketh no doubt of that which he seeth not, as 
the Epistle to the Hebrews saith : Faith looks 
to that which is to come, and not to that which 
is already present : therefore a true Christian 
doth not say, Non putardm, I had not thought 
it ; but he is most certain that the beloved cross 
is near at hand, and will surely come upon him ; 
therefore he is not afraid when it goeth evil 
with him, and is tormented. But the world, 
and those that live securely in the world, cannot 
brook misfortunes ; they go on continually 
leaping and dancing in pleasure and delight, 
like the rich glutton in the Gospel. He could 
not spare the scraps to poor Lazarus ; but 
Lazarus belonged to Christ, and He took his 


ILutljcr s Cable Calk. 

Men s Love of Novelty, Before I translated 
the New Testament out of the Greek, every one 
longed after it, to read therein ; but when it was 
done, their longing lasted scarce four weeks* 
Then they desired the Books of Moses ; when 
I had translated those, they had enough thereof 
in a short time. After that, they would have 
the Psalter ; of the same, they were soon weary ; 
when it was translated, then they desired other 

In like manner will it be with the Book of 
Ecclesiasticus, which they now long for, and 
about which I have taken great pains in trans 
lating thereof. All are acceptable, so long and 
until our giddy brains be satisfied, afterwards 
they let them lie, and seek after new things ; 
therefore in the end there must come errors 
among us. 

Christ the Only Physician for Death, A 
cup of water, if a man can have no better, is 
good to quench the thirst. A morsel of bread 
stilleth the hunger, and he that hath need 
seeketh earnestly thereafter. So Christ is the 
best, surest, and only physic against the most 


Eutfjer s 

fearful enemy of mankind, the devil ; but they 
believe it not with their hearts. If they knew a 
physician who lived above one hundred miles 
off, that could prevent or drive away temporal 
death ; oh, how diligently would he be sent for ; 
no money nor cost would be spared ! Hence it 
appears how abominable human nature is spoiled 
and blinded ; yet notwithstanding, the small and 
little heap do stick fast to the true Physician, 
and by this art do learn that which the holy old 
Simeon well knew, from whence he joyfully 
sang, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart 
in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, 
&c. Therefore death became his sleep ; but 
from whence came his great joy? Because that 
with spiritual and corporal eyes he saw the 
Saviour of the world, he saw the true Physician 
against sin and death. Therefore it is a great 
trouble to behold how desirous a thirsty body is 
of drink, or one that is hungry of food (whereas 
a cup of water, a morsel of bread, can still 
hunger and thirst no longer than two or three 
hours), but no man, or very few, are desirous 
or do long after the most precious Physician, 
although He lovingly calleth and allureth all to 
come unto Him. 

Eufljtr s JTabIe Calft. 

Man Unable to Distinguish between the 
Law and the Gospel, Never yet was that man 
found on earth that could make a right differ 
ence between the Law and the Gospel. We 
flatter ourselves that so soon as we have heard 
a sermon upon that subject, we understand it 
thoroughly ; but therein we deceive ourselves, 
the Holy Ghost only can teach this art. 

I thought so myself, that I had it at my 
ringer s end, seeing I had written so much 
concerning the same ; but truly I found I had 
far to seek therein, even at such times when I 
stood most in need, and when the devil began 
to lecture me. But when by his many assaults 
I gained better experience touching his devices 
and temptations, then (thanks be to God) I 
jeered him with his own arguments, even to his 
teeth, with unspeakable joy and comfort to my 
troubled conscience. 

The Law and the Gospel are the chief articles 
in the Church of God : through the Law, God 
will keep off and affright the ungodly, the rude 
people and sinners from blaspheming ; He will 
also thereby teach the proud hypocrites, and the 
invocators of saints, in that they have written 
superfluously of the overplus of works, &c. 


ILutfjcr s Cable 

But the Gospel comforteth the sad and sorrow 
ful conscience, &c. It comforteth all those of 
whom the Prophet Isaiah speaketh, where he 
saith, Be of good comfort, for I do forgive you 
your sins. What could God do more for us ? 

How we are made good before Christ. A 
Capuchin friar saith, Wear a grey coat and a 
hood, wear a halter about thee, and put clogs on 
thy feet. A preaching friar saith, Put on a 
black hood. A Papist saith, Do this or that 
work, hear mass, pray, fast, give alms, &c. But 
a true Christian saith, I am made good, right 
eous, and saved only by faith in Christ, without 
any of my works or deserts. Now compare 
these together, and judge which may be the true 

Patience. Patience is the best virtue, which 
in Holy Writ is highly praised and extolled by 
the Holy Ghost. And howsoever the philoso 
phers and learned heathen do also much exalt 
and applaud it ; yet they cannot possess the 
same, nor attain to it without the will and assist- 


ILutfjer s Cable ITalft. 

ance of God ; for they neither know nor under 
stand any thing certain thereof. Epictetus, the 
sage and understanding Grecian heathen, said 
very well, Suffer and abstain ; as also the 
Hebrews say with good words, 

Believe not all thou hearest. 
Speak not all thou knouicst, 
Do not all thou canst. 

One of Luther s sayings. 

In luctu gaudium : In mourning joy. 
In gaudio luctus: In joy mourning. 
Gaudendum in Domino: Joyful in the Lord. 
Lugendum in nobis : Mourning in ourselves. 

The Amaranthus a symbol of the Church. 

Amaranthus is a flower that groweth in 
August ; it is more a stalk than a flower, it is 
easily broken off, and groweth in joyful and 
pleasant sort ; when all other flowers are gone 
and decayed, then this (being sprinkled with 
water) becometh fair and green again ; insomuch 


Eutfyrr s Cable Calk. 

that in winter they use to make garlands thereof. 
It is called Amaranthus from hence, that it 
neither withereth nor decayeth. 

I know nothing more like unto the Church 
than this flower Amaranthus (called with us in 
Germany, Thousand fair). For although the 
Church doth bathe her garment in the blood of 
the Lamb, and is coloured over with red ; yet 
nevertheless she is more fair, comely, and beau 
tiful than any state and assembly upon the face 
of the earth. 

Moreover, the Church suffereth herself willingly 
to be plucked and broken off, that is, she is 
loving, patient, and obedient to Christ her 
bridegroom in the cross ; she groweth and 
increaseth again fair, joyfully, and pleasant, 
that is, she gaineth the greatest fruit and profit 
thereby ; she learneth to know God aright, to 
call upon Him, freely and undauntedly, to confess 
His word and doctrine, and produceth many fair 
and glorious virtues. 

At last, the body and stalk remaineth whole 
and sound, and cannot be rooted out, although 
raging and swelling be made against some 
of her members, and the same torn away. 
For like as Amaranthus never withereth nor 

ILutfjrr s Cable STalfc, 

decayeth : even so, the Church can never be 
destroyed nor rooted out. 

The True Preacher, An upright, a godly 
and true preacher should direct his preaching 
to the poor, simple sort of people, like a 
mother that stilleth her child, dandleth, and 
playeth with it, presenteth it with milk out 
of her breasts, needeth neither malmsey nor 
muscadine to give it. In such sort should 
also preachers carry themselves, should teach 
and preach plainly, that the simple and un 
learned may conceive, comprehend, and keep it. 
But when they come to me, to Melanchthon, to 
Dr. Pommer, &c., then let them show their 
cunning, how learned they be, they shall be well 
put to their trumps ; for to sprinkle out Hebrew, 
Greek, and Latin in their public sermons, the 
same favoureth merely of pride, which agreeth 
neither with time nor place, nor is it pertinent. 
To conclude, such preachers are untimely 
ripeless saints. 

Christian Pilgrimages, In Popedom they 
went on pilgrimage to the dead saints ; they 


Eutfjrt a Cable Oft. 

went towards Rome, towards Jerusalem, Com- 
postella, and to St. James, to make satisfaction 
and payment for their sins. But now we might 
act and perform upright, good, and godly pilgri 
mages, which are pleasing to God in faith ; 
namely, diligently to read the Prophets, the 
Psalms, the Gospel, &c. As then we should 
not wander through the cities of dead saints, 
but through our hearty contemplations to God, 
that is, to visit the right and true land of promise, 
and paradise of everlasting life. 

A certain prince in Germany, well known 
to myself, went to Compostella, in Spain, 
where St. James, the brother of the Evan 
gelist and Apostle St. John, should lie buried. 
Now as this Prince made his confession to a 
Barefoot friar, who was an honest man, he 
asked the Prince if he were a German ? The 
Prince answered, Yea. Then the friar said, O 
loving child, why seekest thou so far for that, 
which thou hast much better and more precious 
in Germany ? for I have seen and read the 
writings of an Austin friar touching indulgences 
and pardons for sins, wherein he powerfully 
concludeth, that the true pardons and remissions 
of sins do only consist in the merits and 

Enfljrr 8 Katie Calls. 

sufferings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
O loving child, said the friar, remain thereby, 
and permit not thyself to be otherwise per 
suaded. I purpose shortly, God willing, to 
leave this ungodly life, to repair into Germany, 
and to join myself to the same Austin friar. 

Allegories. When I was a friar I was a 
master in spiritual significations, then I was 
altogether in my allegories ; but afterwards, 
when through the Epistles to the Romans, I 
came a little to the knowledge of Christ, I saw 
that allegories were vain, not what were signi 
fied by Christ, but who and what He is. Before 
that time I allegorised and spiritually signified 
every particular thing. But afterwards I con 
sidered the histories, how difficult and heavy a 
matter it was that Gideon fought with the 
enemy in that manner as the Scripture showeth ; 
those were no allegories, nor spiritual signifi 
cations : but the Holy Ghost saith, Faith only, 
with three hundred men, beat so great a 
multitude of the enemies. St. Jerome and 
Origen (God forgive them) were the means that 
allegories were held in such esteem. 


SLutfjer s Cable Calfc. 

Thankfulness. The most acceptable service 
that we can do and show unto God, and which 
He only desireth of us, is, that He is praised of 
us ; but He is not praised, except He be first 
loved ; He is not loved, unless He be first bounti 
ful, and doth well ; He doth well when He is 
gracious ; gracious He is when He forgives sins. 
Now (said Luther), who are those that do love 
Him? They that are the small flock of the 
faithful, that do acknowledge such graces, and 
do know that through Christ they have forgive 
ness for their sins, &c. But the children of this 
world do not trouble themselves herewith ; they 
serve their idol, that wicked and cursed 
Mammon, but in the end he will evil reward 


London . R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor, Printers.